MANILA, Philippines – Former Adamson coach and now San Miguel Beer mentor Leo Austria is hopeful that his former players Rodney Brondial and Jericho Cruz will find success now that they have been drafted into the PBA.
Brondial was one of the surprise picks at last Sunday's PBA Draft, as he was picked by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at No. 6. Cruz, meanwhile, went three picks later to Rain or Shine at No. 9.
Jericho Cruz at the 2014 PBA Draft.Photo by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com
"Nandoon 'yung fulfillment," Austria said when asked how he felt that Brondial and Cruz were now professionals.
"Gusto ko nga maiyak sa kanila, especially Rodney, dahil gustong-gusto niya mag-PBA. Before, tinatanong niya ako kung kaya niya," he added. "Sabi ko, through hard work, makukuha mo 'yan."
Austria, who was recently named the new head coach of the Beermen, said Cruz was a great fit for Rain or Shine.
"Fearless 'yan, walang takot 'yan," Cruz said of Austria, who had a breakout season for Adamson last year but decided to skip his final year of eligibility. "Knowing ang sistema ni Coach Yeng (Guiao), talagang bagay na bagay (siya) doon."
"Walang 'yang inuurungan, at sanay siya sa open court," he added.
Austria also believes that Brondial is a "good pick" for Ginebra given his work ethic and passion.
Rodney Brondial at the 2014 PBA Draft. Photo by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com
"Siya 'yung player na nakita ko na magpapakamatay para sa team niya," Austria said of Brondial, who was one of the leading rebounders in the UAAP last season. "He's a hard worker, and may tira siya sa labas."
"'Yung size niya ay 6-foot-4, pero ang kanyang reach ay para sa 6-foot-6. Talagang kailangan 'yan ng Ginebra," he added.
Brondial, for his part, credited Austria for the success that he has achieved.
"Lahat utang ko doon. From nothing, siya lang ang nag-develop sa akin," said Brondial, who revealed that three UAAP teams – Far Eastern University, University of the East, and University of Santo Tomas – turned him down before he was "discovered" by Austria in an inter-barangay tournament.