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Austria: I’m back

Leo Austria has been seen working actively on the sidelines for San Miguel Beer in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.

Austria, a nine-time PBA champion with the Beermen, is very much visible on the bench and is often spotted communicating actively with head coach Jorge Gallent.

Austria took a hiatus from coaching middle of last season and the break had allowed him to recharge and refocus to become more contributor to the Beermen this season.

Austria admitted that he missed the game.

“Of course, I missed it,” Austria said.

“Now, it’s back to work for us. The sabbatical is over.”

Prior to taking a hiatus, the 65-year-old Austria has been coaching since 1998. His last title with the Beermen is the Philippine Cup in 2022. Last January, Beermen team manager Gee Abanilla announced that Austria will take a sabbatical to give way for Gallent.

But during his breather, Austria kept himself busy as he went back to his home province in Quezon to run basketball clinics for young athletes.

“I got invitations, went back to my province in Sariaya, and did some basketball clinics,” Austria said.

“Then I watched the games — the FIBA World Cup, UAAP and NCAA — just to keep myself updated, and now, I’m back to work.”

Austria admitted how much he missed the team.

“I miss the squad,” Austria said.

“It really feels good to be back. The demands of coaching were too much so I have to take a break. You know the pressure at San Miguel and it practically demands winning every game, but the ball is round.”

“Now, I’m now recharged and ready to work.”

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