Ever since Leo Austria took the San Miguel Beermen’s coaching reins back in 2014, the storied franchise has yet to lose in any Finals series. They have won all four of their title bouts, with the 2017 Philippine Cup as the most recent.
Now that the Beermen are in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup championship opposite of the TNT Katropa, the 59-year-old veteran mentor declared that they plan to extend that streak of theirs to five.
“We’re planning to extend that unbeaten record namin sa Finals,” shared the 2016 Coach of the Year moments after the mid-season conference Finals’ press conference, Monday afternoon at Sambokojin in Eastwood City.
However, Austria is fully aware that a tall hurdle is in front of them, that attaining their goal of 5-0 will never be a walk in the park as they will face the Katropa — a team that is composed of young yet tough stalwarts and solid veterans. Moreover, the Katropa are hungry to beat them after last conference’s emotional seven-game series.
“It’s not that easy considering our opponent is TNT. They’re out there to win a championship because it’s been a long time for them. At the same time, laging kami ang obstacle for them to get into the Finals dahil twice namin sila tinalo sa semifinals — in the All-Filipino last 2015, and then nung conference,” reflected Austria.
“I’m sure na it’s always on their minds, and I’m sure that they will really prepare hard for this.”
SMB haven’t worn a Commissioner’s Cup crown for 16 years now, as their last Finals appearance in the mid-season affair ended up as a nightmare after they lost to Red Bull in six games. Given that, Austria hopes that they can finally break the years-long cruse.
“I hope so. Before hanggang semifinals lang kami, ngayon nasa Finals na kami. It could be a great time for us to break the barrier,” said the four-time champion coach.