PBA: Leo Austria hopes SMB can continue 'winning lifestyle'


Posted at May 05 2020 01:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Leo Austria gave full credit to his players and coaching staff after being named the 2019 Coach of the Year by the PBA Press Corps last month. 

It is the fourth time that Austria has won the prestigious award, named after the "Maestro" of Philippine basketball, Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan. 

"Hindi magiging posible ito kung hindi sa kanila (Beermen). I'm so thankful dahil sobrang blessed ako. Hindi ko naman alam na mangyayari ito sa akin," said Austria, as quoted by the league website.

The Beermen had another sensational campaign during the PBA's 45th season, as they won the All-Filipino Cup for the fifth year in a row. They then peaked at the right time in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, as they went to the finals as the seventh seed.

In a thrilling championship series, they took down the TNT KaTropa in six games to put themselves in line for a Grand Slam. They ultimately fell short, losing to Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors' Cup.

Though they once again could not annex the Grand Slam that they have long dreamed of, it was still another successful season for the Beermen -- and Austria hopes their run will go on.

"Naging lifestyle na nila ito," Austria said. "Maganda ang na-develop ng team na ito -- 'yung sinasabi nating 'samahang walang katulad.' 'Yun ang namamayani dito."

"It's not my goal to win Coach of the Year," he also said. "Ang goal ko is for our team to be successful, and to win a lot of championships."

San Miguel opened the All-Filipino Cup with a 94-78 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots last March 8, but the league suspended all of its activities shortly after due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).