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PBA: Win grand slam, Beermen ordered

The San Miguel Beer players, coaching staff and officers present to San Miguel Corporation Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang, the PBA Governors' Cup trophy they won in the last conference. The presentation was held during the team's victory party held at their head office in Mandaluyong City July 21, 2015. Photo by Ernie U. Sarmiento
Ramon S. Ang challenged the San Miguel Beermen to win the grand slam next season after winning two titles during the recently-concluded PBA campaign.

Ang, the company’s president and chief operating officer, believes that SMB is capable of pulling off a triple crown, especially after sweeping Alaska during the Governors’ Cup finals.

“Maganda ang hinaharap nito,” Ang said during Tuesday’s victory party at the SMC office in Ortigas. “Baka next year, eh mabigyan niyo naman kami ng grand slam.”

The challenge of the top brass has certainly added more pressure on Beermen Coach Leo Austria, who in his first season revived the team’s winning ways with the twin victories that began with the Philippine Cup crown last January.

But Austria also had a low point when San Miguel failed to make it to the quarterfinals in the Commissioner’s Cup, igniting talks that his job may be on the line.

He recovered by sweeping Alaska last week and he has now been given a marching order to win it all next season.

“Pag hinihingan ka ng ganung bagay, you have to do your best,” said Austria. “Ang buhay, pagka walang pressure, walang kuwenta. So you have to accept it… Let’s see what I can do with this team. I’ll try to work doubly hard to show them that we can (win a grand slam).”

Five teams have pulled off the grand slam since the PBA opened shop in 1975.

Two of those were achieved by SMC teams – San Miguel in 1989, and San Mig Super Coffee in 2014.

With a lineup that can only get better, San Miguel has the tools to make the big boss happy. These are Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Ronald Tubid and Gabby Espinas.

“It remains to be seen, dahil nga you can never know what will happen in a tournament. Baka mamaya magkasakit o ma-injure o yung nakuha mong import hindi magaling – huwag naman sana. Maraming pwedeng mangyari,” said Austria.

“It’s also not going to be easy especially nowadays. Every team nagpapalakas ng kanilang mga lineup. For us, we have to elevate our competitiveness. Every game, we will work hard to achieve our goal, one game at a time, one conference at a time,” added Austria.