San Miguel coach Leo Austria says the PBA bubble will be a historic one. (PBA Images)

San Miguel coach Leo Austria believes it would be a “unique” experience for all the 12 teams that will go inside the “bubble” in Clark for the October 9 opening of the PBA.

While league observers are already putting an asterisk for the would-be champion because of the situation with the coronavirus, the three-time Coach of the Year sees it in a different way.

“Meron man o wala (asterisk) very special ito,” said Austria in his appearance on The Chasedown last Saturday over One PH channel on CignalTV.

“Lalo na ito, lagi itong babalik balikan, history ito e.”

The team will still continue to miss the services reigning six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo who is out for a season with a shin injury.

Without the 6-foot-10 Fajardo, Austria will rely on his core that helped the team capture five Philippine Cup titles – Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and one-time MVP Arwind Santos.

Also, the team has Terrence Romeo and Mo Tatuaa, who is expected to fill the void of Fajardo.

“This is a tough challenge for our team. If you can monitor the movement of the other teams, they are very excited because of the fact that June Mar is not around,” said Austria.

“The last five seasons he really dominated especially in the Philippine Cup. In several close games, when it comes to the last two minutes our go to guy has always been June Mar, and he’s accustomed to that (challenge).”

“But without June Mar, I’m now banking on the experience of the team, of my players… more or less they know how to play their roles. I hope maka-adjust sila (inside the bubble).”

Austria considers TNT, NLEX and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as major threats to their title aspiration, knowing that these teams are loaded with talent that can take full advantage of a Fajardo-less SMB squad.

But he is confident on his own team and their capabilities.

“The pride of the players, and since we won the championship ayaw nila na matatalo. Because of that experience they know the glory of winning the title in the Philippine Cup,” Austria said.

“Saka itong team naming iba ang may pinagsamahan, we know kung papaanong mag-sacrifice.”


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/27/a-unique-philippine-cup-for-the-pba-austria/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-unique-philippine-cup-for-the-pba-austria)