SMB's Austria lauds role players in character-building win over Rain or Shine

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
SMB's Austria lauds role players in character-building win over Rain or Shine
SMB coach Leo Austria
PBA media bureau

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Beer's Leo Austria would have liked his team to have the game all done and wrapped up way before the final buzzer.

But that was not the case against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday in their PBA Philippine Cup clash as the Beermen needed to fend off a comeback try by their opponents late in the game.

Rain or Shine were within five, 90-95, with 1:19 ticks left before back-to-back clutch baskets from SMB doomed Rain or Shine, 99-93.

While not being able to meet his goal of finishing off their opponents early, Austria lauded his team for grinding out the character-building win.

"We're not able to finish the game as early as in the third quarter or in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter but this game, a tight game, it could develop a lot of character sa team," said Austria.

Now with a number of key cogs having been traded to other teams like Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot, Austria said his wards are on a learning curve to reach their past winning potential.

With victories that required a lot of heart, like the one over Rain or Shine, Austria believes they'll get there.

He specifically commended some of the bench players who came out with quality minutes for his starters, like Jeepy Faundo and Von Pessumal.

"We're learning how to win games in a tight game. Before, alam naman eh, kung paano manalo. But because of a lot of original players not in our team na, and we have a lot of injured players, I'm so happy for those players who are coming off of the bench who you seldom see on the court, nag step up," said Austria.

"Kahit di sila umiskor, yung energy nila enough na yun to relieve those players na alam nating starter and finisher," he added.

SMB are looking primed to make a return to PBA Philippine Cup supremacy as they currently hold first place with a 5-1 record.



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