San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria was quick to shrug off early talks of the Beermen getting another shot at possibly winning the Grand Slam this season, stressing that it remains a long shot at this point especially with the arrival of quality imports for the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup set to begin on Sept. 21.

Photo from PBA

Talks of a Grand Slam were inevitable, especially that the winner of the Philippine Cup, considered as the most prestigious conference of the season, is the only team that gets the chance of completing such a feat in the PBA.

Austria, who had the opportunity to complete the feat twice in 2017 and 2019 but failed, played down the notion as the Beermen usually struggle in an import-laden conference.

“It’s really hard to win a Grand Slam dahil it depends on the import. ‘Yung kalaban mo madadagdagan ng isang magaling, sa amin mawawala yung isang magaling sa pagdating ng import. We’re not thinking of that. We’re thinking on a game to game basis, it’s a long shot,” rued the nine-time PBA champion coach.

“It’s really hard because a lot of teams are really getting a lot of (good) imports. Alam naman natin yung kalibre ng mga import na kinukuha nila and a lot of teams are beefing up their lineups,” he added.

Austria also felt that the Beermen are always at a disadvantage in the reinforced conference as he will have to solve the dilemma of managing the minutes of their import who will be taking away valuable minutes from his quality big men.

SMB has tapped the services of NBA veteran Thomas Robinson for Commissioner’s Cup and is expected to battle for minutes with Vic Manuel, Mo Tautuaa, Rodney Brondial and June Mar Fajardo.

“In the all-Filipino we have an advantage with June Mar, now with an import, nadadagdagan yung kalaban namin ng isang magaling na player, sa amin naman may dadagdag na magaling na player pero mai-ease out yung magaling na player,” explained the veteran tactician.

“Kung magigigain sila ng 100 percent, maybe sa amin 50 percent but we can never know what will happen, what kind of import na maglalaro sa amin. I’m sure when it comes to credential, maganda ang credential but it’s something to be seen,” he added.

“I hope na talagang itong championship namin magbigay ng inspiration sa lahat ng member ng team namin.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (