AS its injured players are returning to action one by one, San Miguel hopes it will have coach Leo Austria back in charge, too, for its final assignment in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations.
Austria missed his second straight game with the Beermen on Wednesday in a runaway 131-103 win over import-less Terrafirma, but could be back on the bench when the defending champion takes on skidding TNT on Saturday at the Philsports Arena.
“I think TNT game siguro he would be ready,” said deputy coach George Gallent, who was calling the shots for the team in Austria’s absence.
“We hope he’s ready coming into Saturday’s game against TNT.”
The champion coach was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, according to the team.
Austria was also not around when the Beermen defeated Phoenix Fuel Masters, 108-104, last week.
His absence coincided with big man June Mar Fajardo's return from throat surgery, where he had 20 points and nine rebounds in the team’s 28-point rout of a Dyip side that played minus import Lester Prosper and veteran guard Alex Cabagnot.
San Miguel likewise put high-scoring guard Terrence Romeo back on the active list, although the star player out of Far Eastern University didn’t see action despite suiting up against Terrafirma.
Upon his return, Austria will be handling a team that put itself back into playoff contention behind its even 5-5 record for sixth place in the standings.