“Bunch of underachievers.”
San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria heard this comment from fans who were left disappointed by the Beermen’s performance last season.
Despite the team’s powerhouse status, the Beermen couldn’t get past the semifinal round, and several times, were booted out early, forcing management to make coaching changes. With Austria, the Beermen have displayed a new character, something fans would like to see. They started playing with more cohesion as roles were more defined.
They’ve made the big man, June Mar Fajardo, happy by getting him more touches of the basketball. Arwind Santos has evolved his game, extending his range from the perimeter to give Fajardo the space he needs, while Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz and even role players like Ronald Tubid, Rico Maierhofer and Chris Ross were able to help out in any way they can.
“The team wants to prove something. Medyo masakit sa kanila yung naririnig nila na underachievers sila,” added Austria. “They want to prove their worth.”
Fajardo and Santos, who have won the Most Valuable Player awards in successive years, are willing to trade individual accolades for team glory.
“Championship talaga ang priority namin. Tingin ko, ito na yung opportunity,” added Fajardo.
“Lahat naman kami gusto mag-champion,” said Santos. “Kaya nga kung ano ang maitutulong ng bawat isa, yung ang ginagawa namin.”