PBA finals: Austria credits SMB's hustle in Game 2 win
MANILA, Philippines â" Coach Leo Austria was not exaggerating when he said that San Miguel Beer was "humiliated" by Barangay Ginebra in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
The defending champions were quite simply ran off the court by the Gin Kings, with Justin Brownlee in particular proving to be unstoppable. The Best Import candidate dropped 42 points on 17-of-19 shooting from the field, and Ginebra came away with a 127-99 triumph to open the best-of-7 Finals series.
San Miguel's response to being humiliated? Dishing out a beat-down of their own on Ginebra in Game 2. The Beermen were "furious" to start the game, according to Austria, and when the final buzzer sounded, they had clobbered the Gin Kings, 134-109, to even the finals.
"Isa lang ang masasabi ko ano," said Austria. "Out-hustled namin sila."
- READ: San Miguel blowout win sends loud and clear message to Ginebra
The Beermen were considerably more energetic on defense in Game 2. They forced Brownlee to commit a series of turnovers early, leading to easy buckets for San Miguel. June Mar Fajardo was especially active, as he repeatedly beat Ginebra big men down the floor for transition opportunities.
Moreover, all the 50-50 balls that seemed to go Ginebra's way in Game 1 went in San Miguel's favor this time around. At the end of the game, San Miguel turned Ginebra's 19 turnovers into 27 points.
"'Yung intensity nilaâ¦ kung 100% ang intensity namin ngayon, the last time it's 70%," sai d Austria.
"It's just a walk-through, 'yung first game namin, because we allowed them to execute their play. But tonight, you can see it naman â" they're playing just like it is a championship (series)," he explained.
Austria praised his entire squad, especially Alex Cabagnot whose career-best effort sparked their win. He also lauded import Renaldo Balkman, who was fired up even during San Miguel's practice on Saturday.
"Since yesterday (Saturday), he's the one who is very vocal to the team, and he's suggesting so many things that could be beneficial to the team," said the coach. "And that's a sign of great leadership. He really wants to win the game."
Balkman finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while clearly relishing the boos of the Barangay Ginebra fans who showered him with expletives virtually every time he touched the ball.
As proud as he was of his players' pe rformance, however, Austria was also quick to note that all they did was knot up the series.
"Now, we have a series," he said. "The percentage of winning a championship if you're down by two games, it's really hard."
"But we just evened the series," said Austria. "And you can never know what will happen."
Game 3 is on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.Source: Google News Austria | Netizen 24 Austria