Battle-tested Talk 'N Test the 'real barometer' for San Miguel Beer, says Leo Austria
SMB coach Leo Austria says the Beermen will have a clearer idea on how they've grown as a team after the match against the playoff-tested Tropang Texters. Jaime Campos

COACH Leo Austria said San Miguel Beer's game on Friday against Talk 'N Text will be true barometer on how good the league-leading Beermen have become in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The Beermen (8-1) need only to win one of their last two games in the eliminations to secure a Top 2 spot and safe passage into the semifinals, but Austria said it's no easy task especially against Talk 'N Text.

“Ever since naman, masasabi na nating title contender ang Talk ‘N Text. Maganda ang chemistry nila kahit wala si Kelly Williams,” said Austria ahead of the 7 p.m. match against the texters.

The 6-foot-7 Williams has played just six games this conference after a battle with pneumonia.

Although the Beermen have been running roughshod over their opponents this season, Austria stressed the game against the Tropang Texters will serve as their barometer on how far the Beermen have grown as a team.

“A lot of teams say kami daw ang powerhouse, pero para sa akin, ang real test talaga para sa amin eh ang Talk ‘N Text. Yan ang magiging barometer kung nasaan na kami ngayon,” he added.

Meantime, Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico said they are not thinking too far ahead in the playoffs, but only wants to maintain a level of consistency.

“Wala pa kaming consistency game in and game out,” said Uichico, whose team is coming off a tough 100-96 overtime win against defending champion Purefoods Star.

But one thing Uichico can be thankful for is that he’s got a battle-tested core of Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier and Jimmy Alapag back for another title run.

“They’ve been there naman (played in the playoffs), but depende din sa matchup namin. Alam naman nila ang importance ng playoffs,” added Uichico, who is eyeing his ninth PBA championship this season.

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