Defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel is ready to defend the throne at all cost, especially against newly-crowned 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup titlist Brgy. Ginebra led by Tim Cone – the league’s winning-est bench tactician with 22 titles tucked under his belt.
“Any coach in the PBA naman talagang target ang team namin dahil naka-five-peat na kami (in the Philippine Cup),” said Beermen coach Leo Austria.
“Kaya iyon talaga goal ng bawat coach. What more si (Gin Kings) coach Tim (Cone), dahil iyung team naman niya talaga namang contender. Any conference contender iyon,” he added.
Cone had declared that they are indeed going after the elusive All-Filipino crown shortly after his team reclaimed the throne of the season-ending conference.
“We are certainly going to go for it,” said Cone. “LA (Tenorio) came up to me and said, ‘We got to win in the all-Filipino. I haven’t won an all-Filipino yet.’ I think he is going to get everyone keyed up to win.”
Austria bared that he had read about Cone’s statement and that he understands where the Brgy. Ginebra mentor is coming from, especially now that the Beermen have won the last five stagings of the Philippine Cup which is generally considered as the most prestigious of the three conferences.
“Understandable naman kasi everybody is hungry for the All-Filipino crown. Everybody wants to stop us, that’s normal,” he pointed out. “Lalo na Ginebra. Matagal na silang di nananalo sa All-Filipino. During their championship run nakita potential ng team and, personally, I think capable naman sila. Maganda inilaro nila, siyempre iba na aambisyunin nila.”
Notwithstanding the challenge posed by the Gin Kings and all the other teams, the 8-time PBA champion mentor believes that the Beermen are ready and motivated enough to extend their domination of the Philippine Cup.
“I hope ma-realize din namin kung ano importance nito para sa amin. Five-peat mahirap ng mapantayan iyan, lalong-lalo na six-peat,” noted Austria.
“After ng nangyari mas motivated pa mga players,” he added in reference to the team’s failed Grand Slam bid. “Alam nila na we have to do our best. Alam na nila what’s at stake.”