Austria stressed the Beermen are not looking far ahead with the Commissioner’s Cup in their plate.
SMB ploy: Win one at a time
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — In a good position to vie for that rarest of feats in a single season, five-peat PBA Philippine Cup titlist San Miguel Beermen now have to address the elephant in the room.

“There’s a lot of people asking for a grand slam,” SMB coach Leo Austria admitted when he graced yesterday’s PSA Forum with local players Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and Von Pessumal and import Charles Rhodes. 

Actually, it’s not just the die hard fans but the San Miguel Brewery president himself, Bobby Huang, who has requested specifically for a triple crown when the Beermen celebrated their latest triumph at the SMC headquarters Monday night.

“There’s clamor because it’s been 30 years since San Miguel last won a grand slam but I think that’s only a wish not an order because they know in sports, you don’t have control over everything,” he said.

Austria stressed the Beermen are not looking far ahead with the Commissioner’s Cup in their plate. 

“We’re not thinking of that (grand slam) because we have to win another conference, the second conference, and we’re taking it one game at a time,” he pointed out.

The multi-titled mentor said it’s counter-productive to think of a season sweep after just one championship.

“With our experience, we know what’s the consequences of thinking grand slam. After we won our first Philippine Cup championship (in 2015), the next conference, we got eliminated and didn’t reach the quarterfinals,” he recalled.

SMB pins its hopes on the returning Rhodes in chasing the second jewel of 2019.

“There’s a lot of good, quality imports who can surely lead their respective teams to victory. But with Charles as our import, we know what happened when he was here in 2017. He won the Best Import and won a championship, so I’m confident Charles will perform well with our team.” said Austria.

“The good thing with Charles is he’s not the kind of import who wants the ball every time. And we have chemistry with him,” he added.

The Beermen will kick off their Commissioner’s Cup campaign on June 5 yet versus NorthPort.

“What’s important at this point is for us to recover physically and mentally (after the Phl Cup). But the players know how to handle this situation. I trust that even though we’re not practicing, on their own they’re preparing for next conference,” said Austria.

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