As far as San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria is concerned, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel now knows how to get past the reigning All-Filipino kings.
The reigning Coach of the Year warned that the Gin Kings have formulated solutions to the Beermen’s equations after their aspirations of going 3-0 in their 2018 Philippine Cup semis series got derailed in Game Three Tuesday, 95-87.
“They know already how to beat us,” rued Austria after the bout.
Austria pointed out the various schemes applied by the Gin Kings in Game Three, particularly the three-big man lineup — Japeth Aguilar, Prince Caperal, and Joe Devance — fielded in by opposing coach Tim Cone at the start.
That tall frontcourt, Austria added, made it tough for reigning Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo to get a good feel of the game early, as he only scored two on four shots at the end of the game’s first 12 minutes.
“They attacked us using three bigs,” he said. “We didn’t have a good rhythm of the game especially Marcio [Lassiter] getting [into] foul trouble and June Mar not getting the ball at the start because of Ginebra’s double teaming.
“They have a good game plan against us because in the first two games, same game plan ang na-give namin so ngayon, hindi nag-materialize.”
And it also didn’t help that Austria had to play with depleted pieces, as main point guard Chris Ross did not see action in the second half due to a thigh injury. But the amiable coach explained that he didn’t want to risk Ross.
“We don’t want to aggravate it. Nung first half, medyo nag-ice siya. This is a long series ano, so we didn’t risk him in the second half ’cause it might aggravate,” he shared about his combo guard.
“I hope maka-recover siya for next ball game.”
Luck seemingly veered away from San Miguel Tuesday night. But Austria sees it as wake-up call for his wards, and come Game Four, the veteran bench strategist vowed that they will come out much stronger to regain momentum.
“It’s a wake up call for us dahil we cannot just take them for granted just because of our two wins. We need two more wins. That’s the hardest way kasi momentum now is on their side,” said Austria.
“But we will be ready to make up for this one.”