The San Miguel Beermen once again came from behind in Game 3, scoring a huge third quarter en route to a 96-89 victory which put the team on the brink of the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup title after wresting a 3-0 lead.
Head coach Leo Austria lauded his troops for the effort they have shown in a crucial affair where they expected the Alaska Aces to bounce back.
“Wala ang masasabi sa player ko dahil sila ang nagtrabaho dito. They refused to give up dahil alam nila maganda ang preparasyon ng Alaska sa Game 3,” he said.
Austria singled out the defensive effort of Arwind Santos in chasing down a JVee Casio fastbreal layup for a block, when San Miguel was ahead 88-85.
“Our players refused to lose. Ang turning point dito para sa akin ay yung chasedown ni Arwind (Santos), nakita ko talaga yung character niya. He really wants to win,” Austria quipped of the team’s defense.
“Before, sinasabi nila, wala kaming depensa. Ngayon in the last two games, napakita namin dahil wala kang magagawa, kung gusto manalo, lalabas at lalabas ang talent ng player.”
But even with the championship series virtually done, the Beermen mentor does not want his wards to let up. Once on the losing side of the finals despite holding a 3-1 lead, Austria reminded his boys to play until one side is declared champion.
“Para magchampion ka, kailangan mo ng apat na panalo. Mathematically, meron pa (chance ang Alaska.) I experienced a lot of championship games where we were leading 3-1. Last second, I was there noong nag-shoot si (Rudy) Distrito. Every time may ganitong sitwasyon, pinapaalala ko sa kanila hangga’t hindi pa tapos ang games, wala pang ide-declare na champion,” Austria recalled when the Ginebra San Miguel squad shocked the Shell Rimula side in 1991.
Austria was on the Shell team that bannered Benjie Paras.
“Marami ang nagsasabi mase-sweep namin pero hindi namin iniisip yun. Every game, tini-treat namin as a championship and yun ang nangyayari since first game of the playoffs,” he added.
Wary of what may still unfold, Austria reminded the Beermen to stay focused in their quest to win another title.
“Marami pa pwede mangyari. Siguro hinahanap nila ang right chemistry pero yun ang binabantayan namin. Nabansagan silang comeback kids. Maingat kami sa parte na yun.”