Austria blasts 'overconfident' SMB: 'Kung tonight kalaban namin Kia, probably we also lose'
SMB coach Leo Austria called the loss to Blackwater the worst in his time with the Beermen. Marlo Cueto

SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria rued his team’s overconfidence that factored heavily in their stunning 106-96 loss to Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night.

The champion Beermen gave up an early nine-point lead and allowed the Elite, erstwhile second to the last in the standings and missing sophomore sensation Mac Belo, to go on a late surge to pull off the upset victory over the defending champions.

“This is the worst loss in my coaching dito sa San Miguel dahil everybody is expecting us to win against Blackwater,” Austria said after emerging from the dugout. “But I think it’s a fault of the team. Maybe we’re so complacent because easy to beat itong Blackwater. But I keep on telling them na this is a very dangerous team.

“And alam nilang manalo against a team with a big man,” he added, considering the Elite’s first two wins were against Rain or Shine, anchored by Raymond Almazan, and Greg Slaughter-bannered Ginebra.

The Beermen were coming off a 77-76 win over contender Magnolia last Sunday in a game where they erased 16-point third-quarter hole to still come out victorious.

“They thought it’s an indication na kaya naming manalo ulit,” Austria said. “But I told them na every game, especially the next few games, will be tough for us, because everybody’s trying to win eh, especially (our next game) against Alaska, dahil this could be the turning point to get into the Top Two.”

Austria felt the stunning loss also exposed SMB’s weakness: their lack of bench support to their formidable starting unit that scored all but 20 of the team’s output.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, don’t believe the article na lumalabas na super team kami. No. Kung titingnan mo, mababaw yung bench namin eh,” Austria insisted. “Before, we’re playing as a team, cohesive, then they’re watching everybody’s back.”

“I told them na kahit anong game plan namin, kahit anong ginawa natin in the past, kung walang effort, it will not happen,” he added. “We cannot beat any team – even Kia. I’m worried. Kung tonight kalaban namin Kia, probably we also lose to them because of the effort. Attributed ito sa overconfidence.”

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