That’s how San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria described his magical journey so far.
It’s been an unexpected run, though, especially given where he was just six years ago.
Back in 2013, the Adamson Soaring Falcons let go of Austria after the then-hosts only won four out of their 14 games.
“Dati para akong naka-Paco Rabanne. Ang bango-bango ko, ngayon hindi na,” he lamented during his exit interview.
Ateneo tapped Austria as a possible replacement for Blue Eagles head coach as a safeguard if team patron Manny V. Pangilinan decided to pull out as team booster. However, it did not happen.
On the other side, San Miguel had been struggling in the PBA even if they had a stacked lineup.
Ato Agustin, Olsen Racela, Gee Abanilla, and Biboy Ravanes all tried to glue things together for the Beermen. None would succeed.
Then came Austria.
“God is really good.
“But this thing will not happen if not because of the brilliance of our boss, Ramon S. Ang, at kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa kaniya nang buong puso. Malaki ang naitulong niya sa career ko,” expressed Austria. “Malaki ang naitulong niya sa pamilya ko. He changed our lives.”
The partnership between San Miguel and Austria proved magical.
Over the last five years, the Beermen have won seven of the last 13 conferences, including the last five Philippine Cups.
Not only that, Austria has turned superstars June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Terrence Romeo, and Christian Standhardinger into an unstoppable army.
Yes, he was the one who tamed those beasts.
“I’m so thankful with those players because we have a lot of struggles and now we’re winning a lot of history,” said Austria.
“Dahil sa kanila nagmukha akong magaling na coach.”
The success of Austria has propelled him to a tie with Yeng Guiao for most number of crowns in league history.
And the proud son of Sariaya, Quezon is hoping that he never wakes up from this dream.
“I don’t think this will be broken in the near future,” Austria reflected about their Philippine Cup dynasty. “But sabi ko nga eh, record is always there to be broken eh.
“But I hope na habang nabubuhay kami na huwag muna.”
As they say, if you smell good, you look good. And Leo Austria is looking good right now.
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