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Alex Cabagnot thanks Coach Leo Austria for entrusting him with winning shot

Alex Cabagnot was entrusted with the final shot despite the lack of practice, but the gamble paid off. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Alex Cabagnot has been known for his clutch heroics especially for San Miguel.

But with him just returning to action after a long injury-related layoff, it's kinda risky to have him take the final shot.

Luckily for Coach Leo Austria, Cabagnot was sizzling off the bench, making it a no-brainer to have him go for the kill against NorthPort on Sunday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

"I just want to give thanks to Coach Leo. I just got in last night. But he gave me the trust, and he even left me out there," Cabagnot said after his stepback jumper with 1.5 seconds left pulled the Beermen ahead of the Batang Pier in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.

[Related Story: Alex Cabagnot scores game-winner as SMB escapes NorthPort]

He also thanked his teammates for giving way to him.

"They didn't mind me playing this much minutes," added Cabagnot, who played 22 minutes for SMB even as he finished the game instead of starter Von Pessumal and supersub CJ Perez.

Cabagnot admitted that he only entered the league's semi-bubble on Saturday, but since they have been together for a long time, it's not surprising that Austria would still trust him in the final play.

"Obviously, I had apprehensions with [me entering the semi-bubble] because hindi pa ako nakaka-practice with Coach Leo, yung mga adjustments at drills niya, but in true fashion, like a great coach, he just gave me full confidence. And my apprehensions went away, and I just started having fun," Cabagnot further said.

Him having fun was obvious as he finished with 20 points for SMB, but none was more important than his winning basket.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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