San Miguel is simply waiting for head coach Leo Austria to return as the team continued to miss the services of the champion mentor on Friday.
The 64-year-old missed the Beermen’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round closer versus Meralco. That left the shot-calling duties to his assistants, led by Jorge Gallent, for the fourth straight game.
“We’re just waiting for him,” said Gallent shortly after the SMB’s 113-18 escape from the also-ran Bolts at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Austria has been out since San Miguel’s meeting with Phoenix Super LPG last November 19. The Beermen’s coach has come under health and safety protocols.
This marked the second time this season alone that the three-time Coach of the Year missed games because of the exact same reasons. He was not able to coach for a couple of matches in the Philippine Cup last July.
His lengthy absence has actually created quite a buzz online. There were even reports saying that Austria is already on the way out of the fabled ball club, with the Beermen winning their last four games while he’s away.
Then again, Gallent reiterated that San Miguel is just waiting for its chief bench tactician to be ‘ready mentally and physically’ before reprising his role.
“We as assistants are just doing our job at taking his place. Once Coach Leo is ready mentally and physically, then he’s gonna join us,” he said.
The fifth-seeded Beermen will battle the up-and-coming Converge in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.