ADAMSON coach Leo Austria hopes his recent success with San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) will give the Falcons a boost in the recruitment game in the UAAP.
Austria admitted having a hard time recruiting blue-chip prospects to Adamson’s varsity team in the face of aggressive recruitment programs by big schools like Ateneo and De La Salle.
But now that he’s fresh from steering the Beermen to the ABL championship, Austria hopes incoming college players are now going to give this year's UAAP hosts a second look.
“The problem is our recruitment,” said Austria. “A lot of players are supposed to be in our team, but they opted to play for other teams.
“But in terms of kung paano sila matututo, I think I can offer a lot to the players,” he added.
Austria’s resume speaks for itself.
He steered the Beermen to their first-ever ABL crown behind a lineup led by Asi Taulava, Chris Banchero, Leo Avenido, and imports Brian Williams, and Justin Williams.
Prior to landing the job at San Miguel, Austria also coached in the PBA with Welcoat and the defunct Shell squad, and earlier in the Philippine Basketball League where he led the Paint Masters to several championships.
“If you noticed, a lot of players in Adamson are playing in the ABL and some in the pro and developmental leagues. That’s the only thing I can offer to some of the players, na puwede ko kayong pagalingin,” said Austria.
With his mission accomplished for San Miguel in the ABL, Austria’s focus is now with Adamson.
After reaching the Final Four in 2011 with a team bannered by Alex Nuyles and Lester Alvarez, the Falcons missed the semifinals last season after finishing in sixth place with a 3-11 (win-loss) slate.
Austria admitted it will be a tough for Adamson to reach the Final Four this year despite the presence of 6-foot-9 Cameroonian center Ingrid Sewa and the much-improved play of Jericho Cruz as the other teams have likewise beefed up their lineups.
“If I will be given a chance to coach a better team in terms of talent, I can compete with them. I assure that we (Adamson) will have a better spot. But the problem is really our recruitment,” Austria said.
And yes, not even his title romp with the Beermen will make the Falcons a favorite this season.
“Everybody is expecting us to do well because of my achievement. But it’s not a gauge. It’s hard to predict right now,” said Austria.