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All-Filipino four-peat may be a longshot without Standhardinger

MANILA, Philippines – Even though the Beermen came up with a solid win to open their campaign in the 2017-18 PBA All-Filipino Cup, San Miguel coach Leo Austria remains ambivalent about their chances in the conference.

The three-time defending champions have been tabbed as one of the favorites to win the All-Filipino crown, and they opened their four-peat bid by dismissing Phoenix, 104-96, on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports
The explosiveness of San Miguel's celebrated starting unit was on display in that game, as they put the Fuel Masters away with a blistering fourth-quarter run that turned a slim five-point advantage into a comfortable 19-point lead with just two minutes left to play.

"The first win is always really hard," said Austria after the victory. "Everybody is trying to prepare hard for us. Fortunately, my starters all scored in double figures."

Austria must have breathed a sigh of relief after the game, as he was admittedly worried about Phoenix. "Two nights na akong hindi nakakatulog," he revealed, noting that Phoenix had played well in the preseason and were determined to pull off an upset on opening night.

Author: Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News
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