SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria has vowed to make the most of his team's depth as it seeks to even the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra at one game apiece on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen lost to the Gin Kings, 115-108, in Game One of the best-of-five series where coach Leo Austria, who has one of deepest rosters in the league at his disposal, curiously chose to stick to a tight eight-man rotation that lost steam in the end.
Elijah Millsap, June Mar Fajardo, and Arwind Santos all breached the 40-minute mark, while Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot played at least 37 minutes each. Chris Ross, Gabby Espinas, and Ronald Tubid were the only players who saw limited action off the bench.
“Kulang na kulang ang rotation namin, and it's my fault,” Austria admitted. “You know, I want to win, ayaw kong bumitaw sa rotation dahil nagma-match up nga kami, but I realized na I need to rotate those players.”
Jay-R Reyes, Yancy de Ocampo, David Semerad, Brian Heruela, and Asian import Mahmoud Abdeen warmed the bench during the match that saw the Beermen blow away a 13-point lead.
Ryan Araña showed up in street clothes since he lacked sleep after tending to his wife during the birth of their first baby while Gary David was still recovering from a minor knee injury.
Austria vowed to trust his bench this time starting in Game Two that tips off at 7 p.m.
“We have to get some players included sa rotation namin,” the champion coach said. “In that kind of game, we're leading eh, and I just want to control the game and I cannot afford to rest somebody because gusto kong tutukan talaga yun eh, but it didn't work in our way.”