Saludo si San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria sa dati niyang ayudanteng si Caloy Garcia ng Rain or Shine.

Walang nag-akalang papalaot nang malalim sa PBA Commissioner’s Cup ang Elasto Painters, pero sumagwan sila hanggang semis, pinahirapan pa ang Beermen.

Umabot ng apat na laro bago naipagpag ng SMB ang RoS, huli 98-95 nitong Biyernes.

“I knew from the start na this will not be easy for us,” bulalas ni Austria sa post-game news conference sa Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I know we won in two games, but Rain or Shine has nothing to be ashamed of. Because they gave us a really good fight.”

Matagal ding tandem sina Austria at Garcia sa Welcoat sa Philippibe Basketball League noong 2000s, hanggang umakyat ang team sa PBA noong 2006.
Naghiwalay sila makalipas ang dalawang taon nang mag-resign si Austria, sinalo ni Garcia ang head coaching job.

“He grew up to be a really good coach,” dagdag ng SMB tactician. “Nagkahiwalay kami for the betterment of our careers.”

May mensaheng iniwan ang seven-time champion coach sa kanyang dating lieutenant:

“Coach Caloy, wala kang dapat ikahiya dahil ginawa mo ang dapat mong gawin sa team, and I’m proud of you.”

Tanggap naman ni Garcia ang pagkatalo sa una niyang mentor. “Nanginig noh?” biro niya. “Actually coach Leo was my first mentor. I wouldn’t be a coach if it weren’t for coach Leo. He gave me the opportunity to be his assistant.”

Marami daw siyang natutunan kay Austria.

“Kaya siguro feeling ko when we went to the series, may edge ako sa kanya. Because i know probably how he moves or sets plays,” wakas na namutawi kay Garcia. “Pero ‘di talaga. Lakas din talaga ng lineup nila. But we did a good job.” (Vladi Eduarte)