The San Miguel Beermen have exorcised their 16-year Commissioner’s Cup curse
Leo Austria was elated on Friday night. His San Miguel Beermen had finally closed out their semis series with the Star Hotshots in four games, and they are now bound for the Commissioner’s Cup Finals for the first time since 2001.
And after the win, the four-time champion coach lauded his players, particularly the deadly trio of Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter, for displaying their championship poise all throughout the series.
“What more can I say? We’re back in the Finals. We’re so happy because these hard-working players, pinakita nila yung kanilang championship caliber,” said Austria moments after their 109-102 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I have to commend those players, especially Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot and even Marcio, who despite not playing well, but being on the court, he can neutralize the defense that’s why na-o-open mga big man,” he added.
The storied franchise will now make their 38th finals appearance overall. With the way they have been playing ever since the 2017 Philippine Cup, a lot of people have been praising SMB, saying that this is their best chance to win a Grand Slam.
But Austria downplayed the talk, saying that the rare feat is something far from their minds, as they are taking it one battle at a time.
“You’re right. One step closer to the Grand Slam,” said the 59-year-old tactician to one of the mediamen.
“But that’s not in our mind eh. We have to win and get to the Finals. We can never know what will happen.”
The Beermen are more focused on the task at hand, and will now wait for the winner of the TNT-Ginebra series for their opponents in the Finals. Asked which team does he want to face, Austria said he has no preference.
“Kahit sino sa kanila, welcome kami,” confidently said Austria.
“Being in the Finals again is already a great opportunity for us.”