Leo Austria makes history with 3 straight PBAPC Coach of the Year plums
MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria has joined the immortals of Philippine basketball, installing himself as one of the best tacticians in the history of the PBA.
Austria, who steered the Beermen to the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup championships last season and fell just a title short of a rare grand slam, was awarded the Coach of the Year for the third straight year during the PBA Press Corps (PBAPC) Annual Awards Night at the Gloria Maris Restaurant Thursday, November 30.
The 59-year-old mentor was the first coach in the 25 years of the PBAPC to win the award in three successive seasons, earning him the right to keep the original Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan trophy, which is named after the late legendary coach.
A Coach of the Year winner keeps the original trophy for one season and turns it over when a new winner is named. Coaches are given replicas of the Dalupan trophy as mementoes of their achievement.
If a coach wins the award 3 years in a row, the PBAPC will turn over to him for keeps the original Dalupan trophy, made of hardwood and crafted over two decades ago.
Austria is the first man to achieve that.
Despite the honor, Austria gave the credit back to his players.
“In the last three years, I think I did well in the team. It inspires me more dahil nakikita ko kung ano ‘yung pinagtrabahuhan ko. I’m happy dahil ang mga players ko nagrerespond sa mga ginagawa namin, dahil dito, attributed sa kanila ito dahil wala ako dito kung hindi sila nagpeperform ng maganda,” said Austria.
(In the last three years, I think I did well in the team. It inspired me more because I see the results of what I work hard for. I’m happy because the players respond with what we do. This award is also attributed to them because I will be not here if my players did not perform well.)
It was a big night for the San Miguel Corporation as head honcho Ramon S. Ang was hailed as the Danny Floro Executive of the Year following the Beermen’s championships in the first two conferences and Barangay Ginebra’s successful title-retention campaign in the Governors’ Cup.
The 35-year-old Kelly Williams of the TNT KaTropa was recognized as the Bogs Adornado Comeback Player of the Year, an award named after the PBA great who bounced back from a career-threateting injury to win an MVP award, while San Miguel’s Chris Ross was awarded the Mighty Sports Defensive Player of the Year.
Globalport Batangpier’s Terrence Romeo took home the Scoring Champion plum for the third straight year after averaging 23.1 points this season while Ginebra’s LA Tenorio was given the Order of Merit award for winning 4 Player of the Week citations this season, the most among all PBA players. Magnolia Hotshots’ Jio Jalalon was Mr. Quality Minutes.
KaTropa’s Rogey Pogoy, Phoenix Fuel Masters’ Matthew Wright, Kia Picanto’s Reden Celda, Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer and Jalalon were chosen as the Press Corps’ All-Rookie Team.
Also given awards was the All-Interview Team, composed of Ginebra coach Tim Cone, Tenorio, Rain or Shine Elastopainters’ Beau Belga, Hotshots’ Marc Pingris, KaTropa’s Jayson Castro and Meralco Bolts’ Ranidel de Ocampo.
Ross and teammate Alex Cabagnot and Tenorio, who won the Finals MVP in past three conferences, were also recognized. – Rappler.com