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Leo Austria admits handling reloaded San Miguel ‘a tough challenge’



Tiebreaker Times Leo Austria admits handling reloaded San Miguel 'a tough challenge' Basketball News PBA  San Miguel Beermen PBA Season 44 Leo Austria 2019 PBA Philippine Cup

Aside from trying to win their unprecedented fifth straight Philippine Cup championship, the San Miguel Beermen have another challenge ahead of the upcoming PBA season, which commences on January 13.

The Beermen must integrate new faces in Paul Zamar and Terrence Romeo, whom they acquired through separate deals with the Blackwater Elite and the TNT KaTropa, respectively, just days after the 2018 Rookie Draft.

San Miguel head coach Leo Austria admitted that having another set of new players in his already-stacked line-up – headlined by reigning four-time league Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo – will be difficult, to say the least.

“Actually it’s a tough challenge for me dahil everybody is expecting no less than a Finals or champion,” said Austria, after the Beermen’s first practice this 2019, Wednesday afternoon at the Acropolis Clubhouse in Libis, Quezon City.

“But we’re focusing on the present situation. One day at a time.”

Christian Standhardinger himself struggled to mesh with the Beermen during his first few months as a pro.
Still, eventually, the top pick in the 2017 Rookie Draft was able to find his role with San Miguel.


Of their new acquisitions, all eyes are on three-time scoring champion Romeo. Many are curious about how the fifth pick by the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the 2013 Draft will mesh with the Beermen, given his kind of game.

Moreover, many are interested to see how the former three-time scoring champion will play for his third team after reportedly having a falling-out with half of the TNT KaTropa players. Romeo only lasted for two conferences with TNT.

“It remains to be seen,” said Austria.

But amid the negativity surrounding the flamboyant Romeo – who is expected to report for practice on Thursday – Austria said that he only wants the 26-year-old from Cavite to play his game and not worry about anything else.

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“Alam naman natin na every time there are new players in the team … It will take some time to be familiar with the team. Knowing Terrence, he’s a very intelligent player. ‘Di naman siya sisikat ng ganyan kung wala siyang talent,” shared the six-time champion coach.

“Yung talent andun eh, and what we want him to do is just play his game.”