San Miguel coach Leo Austria had a tough task in front of him when he asked his Beermen – from the players to the coaches and even some members of management – to embrace some new roles for the good of the team.
After winning a third championship in four conferences – and in historic fashion, no less – all of the members can rest easy that buying into their new roles was the right decision to make.
Many of the players, for example, have had to tailor their games to fit into Austria’s system, which is built around back-to-back PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo. Arwind Santos, a former PBA MVP himself, Chris Ross and Yancy De Ocampo have had to make adjustments, not only as part of the team but even in this specific series, doing what the team required of them.
Santos spoke about making the most of their opportunities to be part of history.
“History, sabi ko nga, kahit patay na kami, buhay pa rin yung history, yung legacy na nagawa namin,” Santos said.
“Kailangan naming pangalagaan ito. Kailangang hindi dumating sa point na mag-overconfident kami na kaya na naming gawin lahat.”
Ross, who is known as a role player that provides the intangibles for his team, played a starring role in Game 7, sharing game-high honors in scoring en route to being named Finals MVP.
“I enjoy when my teammates are doing well. A lot of the stuff I do don’t really reflect on the stat sheet. Today, it just happened to be me, but I couldn’t do it by myself,” Ross said.
De Ocampo, for his part, was coming off of an injury but the 6-foot-9 gentle giant played a crucial role in filling in for Fajardo when the MVP went down with an injury of his own.
“Syempre masayang-masaya ako dahil naging part ako ng history. Walang salita para ma-describe yung feeling kung gaano kasaya buong team. Matagal akong nawala dahil nagkaroon ako ng back injury, pero alam ko naming makakabalik ako,” De Ocampo said.