FOR the third straight year, Leo Austria has been named Coach of the Year by the PBA Press Corps (PBAPC) and the San Miguel Beermen mentor is taking home permanently the prestigious Baby Dalupan perpetual trophy.
In the 24-year history of the PBA Press Corps, no other coach has able to win the award three consecutive times.
Perry Ronquillo of Shell came close to winning the award when he captured the Coach of the Year plum in 1998 and 1999, only to be foiled by Jong Uichico in Year 2000.
Chot Reyes was named co-Coach of the Year awardee alongside Ryan Gregorio in 2002 and won the award anew in 2003, but Siot Tanquingcen, who led Ginebra to two championships in 2004, was chosen as the best coach of that season.
Mr. Austria’s latest feat put him on top of the list.
Although his team was denied of a rare grand slam last season, there was no denying Mr. Austria was the best coach of the season just passed, but the former Rookie of the Year awardee deflected the credit to his players.
“They’re saying, you can bring the horses to the river. But you can’t force them to drink. They’re the real winners. The players execute the plays and win games. Before last season started, they showed respect to everyone. They showed dedication and they built the winning culture,” Mr. Austria said during his speech.
“Winning the Coach of the Year award is not just an individual award, but it is a testament to the team’s success, cohesiveness and the winning culture. I will not be here without them.” — Rey Joble