San Miguel crashed out of contention in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup after the reigning five-time champions were swept in the quarterfinal round by lower ranked Meralco.
The Bolts, who were faced with a twice-to-win disadvantage in the series, were hardly threatened in the 2-game affair. The Norman Black-mentored squad led as much as 19 points in Game 1 and by 28 in Game 2. The Beermen, on the other hand, trailed for the entire duration of Game 1 and only enjoyed a 2-point lead in Game 2.
SMB head coach Leo Austria cited lack of preparation time as the main culprit for the team’s downfall.
“Our players tried their best but it’s hard because in order for us to win games like this, it needs a lot of preparations. And it’s hard for us to prepare because of the injuries to our players,” said Austria.
Already without dominant center June Mar Fajardo, high-leaping Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and scoring machine Terrence Romeo, Austria bared that majority of the team’s key players are battling injuries. Mo Tautuaa is bothered by knee tendinitis, Chris Ross is nursing a hamstring injury, Marcio Lassiter has a hurting groin while Alex Cabagnot is playing with a painful hamstring.
“We wanted to win. But the problem is, how can we win with the kind of situation we’re experiencing. At least we’re able to survive and make it to the quarterfinals,” said Austria.
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to take advantage of the twice-to-beat. It was a learning experience for us, but it’s hard to remain on top of the world,” he added.