Leo has admitted to feeling emptiness in his ninth year as coach of Austria’s San Miguel Bear, as the last two seasons have not been as fruitful even though he knows his Bearmen have kept their best footing every time.
“There are a number of factors that are hurting our chances,” said Austria, who have won the title in each of their first six seasons with San Miguel and have been in the Grand Slam doubles twice.
These things don’t matter this season.
“I think because of the epidemic we are better prepared to go to war this time than in the last two seasons,” he said.
San Miguel will chase after a title that it wasn’t too long ago, and he believes others on the 12-team field still see his Bearman as a dangerous threat to regain their throne.
“People see us as our choice and for us, it’s a challenge,” he said. “But we welcome the challenge, because we had a good training camp that we never did before, so we were finally able to achieve that chemistry.”
They won’t ask for challengers at this conference: TNT is the defending champion of the Philippine Cup while Barangay is coming down from a championship in the Geneva Governors Cup and will pad a healthy unit this season. Austria, however, are in the top four of their crew, a list that includes the team they are keeping a close eye on.
“Magnolia,” Austria said. “They’re a whole team.”
San Miguel won the Philippine Cup for five consecutive seasons before abandoning it in the Angeles Bubble in 2020. And last season, San Miguel could not return to the final.
‘I’ll be back’
Austria believes that a big – a huge, 6-foot-10-reason why this Philippine Cup will be different from the last two and it can look as interesting as the previous five.
“He told me: ‘Babaui ako, coach’ (I’ll be back),” Austria said, referring to a conversation he had with Jun Mar Fazardo during the camp when they officially talked about the tournament opening on Sunday to cover. PBA’s 47th season closes at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“That [conversation with Fajardo] It just gives me a lot of confidence, “said Austria. “And I saw in him that he was in much better form than he was when he came back from injury last season. He is working very hard. “
That bad injury kept him out of contention for the seventh time before Fazardo won the Most Valuable Player award in six consecutive seasons.
“Also, his focus is already there, unlike last season when there was something about his recovery [from the shin injury] She lost her self-confidence and after that she lost her mother.
Is he still in the season for the most influential player in the league?
“If we surround him with the right players, yes,” he said. “And that’s our job among the coaching staff.”
They’ve done a good job so far, stacking up and down the roster with talents coming together at the right time.
“We’re just trying to learn how to trust each other, to pass the ball to each other,” said Chris Ross, an experienced guard at the league’s Media Day at Novotelle in Cuba, Queens City. “It simply came to our notice then. After we lost the last conference, we took a week off and then went back to practice. We really have a lot of time to practice together. “
Not defending the title again could ease some pressure from Austria and his complaints could start from Sunday, but the goal has remained the same since he started calling shots.
“Target always wins a championship,” Austria said with a smile. “And this team knows how to win.”
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