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Teamwork, zone help San Miguel in semi-final opener, says Austria

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San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria said teamwork and switching to a zone defense were the factors that spelled the difference after the Beermen fought back from 24 points down to defeat the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 1, 101-95.

Not going to just a single player specifically, the Beermen were able to confuse the Elasto Painters which had trouble defensively towards the end game.

Five players scored in double-digits for the Beermen, led by a near triple-double from AZ Reid. The import finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Alex Cabagnot added 15 points and 8 assists while Marcio Lassiter had 22 points including four triples.

“We were down by more than 20 and fought back and eventually won the game. I have to give credit to my players. It is a team effort especially on defense. We switched to a zone which worked effectively,” Austria said. “On offense we did not go to a specific player. It seemed they were really prepared for our big man (June Mar Fajardo) but our shooters delivered. Even those who didn’t score made their presence on defense.”

The zone defense in the second half also took away the Elasto Painters’ inside game, and prevented them from doing pick and roll plays which lured Fajardo out of the paint in the first half.

“They were trying to create a mismatch by exposing June Mar because there was no way he can extend his defense to the perimeter. They wanted him outside the shaded area,” Austria shared. “He cannot contain his man and Paul Lee who is so deadly and unstoppable in the pick and roll.”

Pitted against a zone, Rain or Shine settled for outside shots instead of trying to break down the defense using penetrations. Unfortunately, the squad did not find rhythm from long distance, shooting only 11-for-45.

“We switched to a zone. Somebody from the staff hinted we needed to adjust because kinakain yung big man.”

San Miguel also assisted 23 of its 36 field goal makes, outplaying Rain or Shine by working as a cohesive unit.

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