San Miguel champion coach Leo Austria 'amply rewarded' with fresh one-year deal
Leo Austria was signed to a new deal after leading the San Miguel Beermen to two championships in his first season as head coach. Dante Peralta

TOKYO – Champion coach Leo Austria is not about to go anywhere. San Miguel Beer made sure about that.

The proud franchise rewarded its mentor with a lucrative contract by re-signing him to another one-year deal after steering the Beermen to two championships during the 40th season of the PBA.

League chairman Robert Non of San Miguel confirmed the signing, but refused to give details.

“Yes, he’s already signed,” said Non, who led the annual planning session of the PBA board here that ended on Wednesday.

The SMC executive said it has been a practice of the team not to tie up its coaches to long-term contracts, reason why Austria was only signed for a season.

“Ganun naman kami sa San Miguel ever since, isa-isang taon lang lagi,” said Non.

But the new deal is definitely a lot higher than the one Austria had in his maiden season with the Beermen.

“Definitely, mas mataas than the previous. Coach Leo was amply rewarded,” added the league chairman.

Austria, a former Rookie of the Year, immediately delivered in his maiden season and first conference by leading the Beermen to the Philippine Cup title by beating the Alaska Aces in the decisive Game Seven of the finals.

Following a sudden dip in the Commissioner’s Cup which saw the team fail to reach the playoffs, the former pro guard, who’s biggest coaching influence happens to be his former national youth team mentor Ron Jacobs, came back with a bang in the season-ending Governors Cup.

With two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and deadly import AZ Reid at the helm, Austria gave San Miguel its second championship in three conferences with a sweep of Alaska in the final tournament of the season.

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