Austria: San Miguel's finals loss a long time coming
MANILA, Philippines – One just cannot be at the top forever.
That's how San Miguel coach Leo Austria simply put it after his Beermen saw their finals streak snapped at the hands of Barangay Ginebra.
After an impressive 6-of-6 in the last 10 PBA conference finals, the Beermen tasted their first championship defeat in 5 years as they bowed out to the Gin Kings in 6 games of the best-of-7 Commissioner's Cup finals.
"It's hard to maintain being on top of the mountain. Sooner or later, babagyuhin ka, babagsak ka rin. Now, it's happening,” Austria told reporters after San Miguel's 77-93 Game 6 loss on Wednesday, August 8.
(It's hard to maintain being on top of the mountain. Sooner or later, you will experience storm and you will fall. Now, it's happening.)
Considering the Beermen were the defending champions and the Gin Kings last won the mid-season tourney 21 years ago, the idea of Ginebra winning the crown was far-fetched to some.
But boy does time fly. (READ: For Arwind, there's silver lining in San Miguel's finals loss)
Not only did the series fail to go the distance, Ginebra beat San Miguel by a whopping average of 19.5 points per game.
The Gin Kings' 87-83 Game 5 triumph was the only close call in the series and the rest were decided by 28, 30 and 16 points in Games 1, 4 and 6, respectively.
"I know that we're a little bit complacent – not only the players [but] everybody from the ball boys to the coaching staff. Sometimes, you're so lenient with them because they give us a lot of championships," Austria said.
"You give it back to them na. Kung tatay e, 'Sige, medyo pagbibigyan kita ng konting layaw.' Pero hindi pala maganda e."
(You give it back to them. Like a father, I gave them a little bit of leeway. But I found out that it's not good.)
"You have to be consistent because this is a sport that you have to keep striving hard because in a competition, consistency is something we have to have."
In order to revive to their winning ways, the reigning three-time Coach of the Year suggests the Beermen return to square one.
"First of all, alisin namin 'yung anim na championship namin. Alisin namin 'yung paniniwala na nababasa't naririnig namin na we're a superteam, 'yung hype going into the Finals na we're too much for our opponent," Austria said.
(First of all, we need to forget the 6 championships we won. We need to remove the belief that we are a superteam and we should not get carried away by the hype that we're too much for our opponent in the Finals.)
"We have to go back to the basics – the fundamentals of basketball." – Rappler.com