Unfazed Leo Austria draws positives from San Miguel's audacious fightback
SMB coach Leo Austria saw a lot of positives despite the OT defeat. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria can finally see some positives even in a loss.

Despite absorbing a 113-105 overtime defeat at the hands of defending champion Purefoods on Sunday night, Austria expressed delight at his team for showing the energy that enabled the reigning Philippine Cup champions to rally from a huge double-digit deficit.

“I’m happy to see them display the game that we had during the first conference,” said Austria. “For me, talagang good game kanina. Kailangan ko pa nga i-praise sila dahil despite the big lead, we were able to catch up.”

“Lumaban kami and we scared them,” he added. “We had a chance to win. Nagkaroon lang kami ng kaunting lapses.”

A prime example was Marcio Lassiter, who led the Beermen’s fightback, but committed a turnover late in regulation.

With the score tied at 98 and time down to a little more than a full shot clock, Lassiter decided to throw a dangerous pass from the backcourt to Chris Ross, only for it to be deflected by the Hotshots’ Alex Mallari that led to teammate Mark Barroca securing ball possession.

The turnover gave Purefoods a chance for a game-winning shot but failed to convert a basket to extend the game into overtime.

“We had a chance for the last shot…but it’s a learning lesson,” Austria said.

[See Desperate Cone turns to 'zone buster' Yap to rescue Purefoods in OT]

The amiable mentor felt had the Beermen just played with the same type of determination in their previous games, they would’ve been in a better position in the standings.

“Kung nag-start kami ng first game namin na ganito yung intensity at attitude namin, I think nasa middle kami or Top Four,” he said.

Still, Austria remains hopeful notwithstanding the Beermen being stuck at the bottom of the standings with only one win to show in seven games.

“We still have a chance. You can never know what will happen. Ang iniisip namin ay one game at a time. Until we’re out and even if we’re out of the playoffs, we’re professionals and we have to do our job.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos