SAN Miguel may have opened the PBA Philippine Cup Finals with a blowout win over Ginebra, but coach Leo Austria isn’t about to pop the bottle and celebrate.
Austria was quick to put the defending champions’ 109-82 victory on Friday night behind him, turning his focus to Game Two where he expects Ginebra and coach Tim Cone to come out swinging.
“This is just the first game. Knowing coach Tim Cone, nasa second game plan na siya e. Game Two, they will come back stronger,” said the four-time champion coach.
“The war is not yet over dahil alam nila kung gaano kaimportante ang all-Filipino (title),” he added.
With the staying in the 30-point range, Cone decided to rest his stars early, with LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar both playing less than 15 minutes in the opener of the best-of-seven series.
That’s a ploy that has worked well Ginebra in the semifinal series against Star, where he rested his starters with still a lot of time left in a Game Five loss.
The Kings ended up winning the final two games of the series – a fact not lost on Austria.
“Pinahinga na nila yung starters nila cause alam nilang swerte kami kanina, e” the SMB coach said. “We know Coach Tim is a great coach. He knows what to do in this situation.”
Austria, though, in understandably pleased with the win, which was so lopsided he was able to limit the minutes of his usually overworked starters led by June Mar Fajardo.
All five SMB starters played less than 30 minutes in Game One.
“Game One is not an assurance that you will win the series but it gives you psychological advantage,” Austria said while assuring the team will continue to play with the same aggression and tenacity.
The Beermen’s historic comeback from 0-3 down against Alaska in last year’s all-Filipino finals is also proof that no lead is safe in the finals, Austria added.
“They can be down 0-1, 0-2, 0-3 it doesn’t matter. There’s always a possibility that they can come back because we have proven that,” Austria concluded.