by Waylon Galvez
San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria is well aware of the controversy that came with the trade when the team got the No. 1 pick they used to select Christian Standhardinger in the PBA Rookie Draft yesterday at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.
Austria, however, is more concerned in inserting the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger on the squad that is loaded with talent.
“Ang focus natin yung maka-adjust ang team. Iyon ang trabaho natin as coach, kung paano na mapapabilis yung bagong player na makuha yung system namin,” Austria told Bulletin-Tempo.
“We still have the core of the team, anjan sila June Mar (Fajardo), Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and Arwind Santos… sa maganda yung pag-pasok ni Standhardinger sa team,” said added Austria.
The mentor of SMB said that their starting roster would depend on the situation, where they can go big with the 6-foot-10 Fajardo – the reigning four-time PBA Most Valuable Player – at center, Standhardinger at power forward, the 6-foot-4 Santos at the wing spot, while Ross and Cabagnot will continue to be the team’s backcourt.
Lassiter will come off the bench but may start at small forward if Austria decides to go small ball if the situation calls for it.
“We’ll see, alam natin na si Arwind kayang mag-adjust sa position e, pwedeng four or three. We’re just excited to have June Mar and Christian sa team,” said Austria.
The Beermen won the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup but was eliminated in the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup by eventual champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
The addition of Standhardinger, who many liken to a taller version of Marc Pingris, will put SMB again the favorite not only to win the Philippine Cup for the fourth straight time and the Commissioner’s Cup but the Governors’ Cup.
Austria, however, is not thinking too much about trying again at the Grand Slam.
“Hindi na muna, hindi natin iniisip yan. Basta we’ll prepare for the Philippine Cup, yan ang focus ng team,” said Austria.
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