LEO Austria considers San Miguel’s first loss in the PBA Philippine Cup a wake-up call for the three-time defending champion.
The Beermen lost hold of an early 14-point lead and fell against Barangay Ginebra, 100-96, on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in a game marred by a controversial technical call in the final 4.5 seconds.
While he himself had reservations over the way the referees handled the situation, Austria is quick to move on following the defeat that snapped the Beermen’s five-win streak to start the season.
“Alam ko naman sooner or later, we will lose. We can’t win all games. That’s impossible,” said the San Miguel mentor.
The Beermen fell to 5-1 overall for a share of the lead with Magnolia, which the defending champions will face next on Sunday.
Contentious as the loss may be, Austria was not about to sulk over it.
“This is our first loss, but we’re still on top,” said the three-time PBA Press Corps Coach of the Year. “Our goal is still to be one of the top two teams (at the end of the eliminations).”
At the same time, he said this should motivate the Beermen to always be on their toes.
“Usually kapag natatalo ka, you worked hard just like what happened to Ginebra,” added Austria, referring to the Kings’ three-game skid prior to pulling off the huge win against their sister team.
“Win or lose, let’s accept the result of the game.”
While the San Miguel coach may be quick to accept the fate of his team, he also questioned the technical foul whistled on Chris Ross for taking the free throw instead of designated shooter Chico Lanete in a confusing sequence in the last 4.5 seconds of the game and San Miguel trailing, 98-95.
Ross later claimed referee Noy Guevarra handed him the ball that forced him to take the foul shot.
“Kayo (referees) ang may kasalanan n'yan, bakit mape-penalize kami?” he asked.