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Austria confident Tautuaa can hold the fort as SMB prepares for life without Fajardo

by Reynald Magallon, February 13, 2020 6:20pm

The San Miguel Beermen are trying to move forward following the devastating injury to June Mar Fajardo but head coach Leo Austria remained confident that his team, especially Mo Tautuaa can hold the fort in the absence of the reigning five-time MVP.

With now more playing time will be given to him, Austria is expecting Tautuaa to regain his form that landed him in the top five of the BPC race in the Philippine Cup last season.

"If he will be given a lot of playing time, I think lalabas yung kanyang laro, yun yung importance niya sa team especially we don't have June Mar. I told him before expect a lot of playing time," said Austria after their tune up game against the Rain or shine Elastopainters last Tuesday.

"A player with a lot of playing time talagang lalabas yung talent mo. Yung confidence mo madedevelop just like what happened to our team," he added.

Austria said the team can be more unpredictable right now with Fajardo out as opposing defenses now have to guess who among the Beermen's bevy of talents will step up on a given night.

"Before with june Mar, my priority kasi is him but this group we have a lot of talented players from the guards nagkakaroon ng equal opportunity. They have to do their role kasi that's what happened, unpredictable you don't know kung san kami pupunta unlike before alam nila pupunta kami kay June Mar ngayon so many weapon but I told them na you have to run according to our system," added Austria.

Photo by Reynald Magallon/Courtside Philippines

The chief architect of the Beermen's five-peat conquest of the Philippine Cup last season even shared that they're preparing the team to even play a small ball line up should Tautuaa get into foul trouble.

They also adjusted their defensive schemes now that they don't have a 6'10" center manning the paint.

"There’s a lot (of adjustments in SMB system) especially on defense. Actually, matagal na naming ginagawa ito but because we keep on winning, nagre-relax. And then, we reorganize our defense and the rules of defense namin talagang iniimplement," he said.

"Marami kaming guards baka mag-small ball kami just in case na ‘yung mga big man namin ay magkaroon ng foul trouble. You can never know eh. We are trying to prepare just in case those things happen," said the eight-time PBA champion coach.

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