Crucial Game 5 win justify San Miguel's top-heavy system
Paul Lintag on Jul 01, 2017 06:58 AM
Four of the Beemen's starters played more than 35 minutes in Game 5 against TNT. Marcio Lassiter played 36 and import Charles Rhodes logged in 41 minutes.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
San Miguel has been often criticized of not fully taking advantage of its bench, instead opting to play its starters under heavy minutes.
But the Beermen have four championships to show for with their current core and the team, at least while still under head coach Leo Austria, will not zig just because others tell them to zag.
Game 5 of the 2017 Commissioner's Cup Finals was the latest display of San Miguel's top-heavy strategy.
Four of the five starters played more than 36 minutes with three players --- import Charles Rhodes, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross --- logging in more than 40 minutes of action.
Arwind Santos came off the bench and also played 36 minutes. June Mar Fajardo was the only San Miguel regular who played significantly less minutes than usual, going for less than 25 minutes after he spent most of the fourt quarter on the bench when the Beermen went small to counter TNT.
Despite facing constant criticisms, San Miguel's top-heavy system continues to work and the Beermen on the cusp of another title after beating the KaTropa in Game 5 for a 3-2 Finals lead.
"Everybody naman has a role on the team, even the bench. But in a game like this, I have to rely on those players na kailangan sa loob," head coachh Leo Austria said on his strategy to play his stars heavy.
"Justified yung lima. Before we've been criticized na konti lang ang rotation but what happened tonight, justification sa mga ginagawa namin," he added.
As this latest San Miguel dynasty continue to pile up wins, it seems that the players themselves have embraced the long minutes.
None of the Beermen seem to be complaining, in fact, it appears that they want this style as well.
"Mismo sa player eh, [sinasabi nila] 'coach I want to play, I want to play.' Ayun binigay ko sa kanila. I'm happy to see them na talagang they refuse to lose," Austria said.
One win away from a new title, the Beermen are ready to close out TNT but as per usual in this series, the team is taking everything with extreme caution.
"It's not yet over. 66 percent siguro ang chance namin at sa kanila 33 percent but next game is a different kid of ball game dahil they keep on adjusting eh," Austria said.
"The good thing is sila lagi ang naga-adjust para samin. We have to anticipate whatever kind of adjustment they have to make," he added.
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