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Leo Austria can return to SMB bench when he's 'mentally and physically ready' says Jorge Gallent

Coach Leo Austria could still make a return as long as he is "mentally and physically ready" to do so. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—San Miguel successfully made some sort of a "great escape" from being in danger of missing the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals to locking in the fifth seed, which eventually came with a best-of-three affair against fourth-seeded Converge, in the next round.

The late surge could be credited to the coaching prowess of Jorge Gallent.

Gallent took over for the Beermen when Coach Leo Austria had to enter the league's health and safety protocols a few weeks ago.

Interestingly enough, even if we can assume that Austria is now cleared to return to the bench, he was still noticeably absent and Gallent remained in charge.

Good thing for the PBA's remaining founding member team, they went 4-0 under Gallent including Friday's win against Meralco at the PhilSports Arena here.

However, with a showdown against Coach Aldin Ayo and the rest of the FiberXers looming, Austria might be needed again, so will he be returning?

For Gallent, it is actually a matter of "when".

"We're just waiting for him," he said after the win against the Bolts.

However, Gallent added that the coaching staff will not be rushing Austria into returning.

"Once Coach Leo is mentally and physically ready, he's gonna join us," Gallent added, adding that they are still in constant communication during Austria's absence.

For now, according to Gallent, the coaching staff will just do its roles in the meantime.

"We're just doing our job in taking his place," he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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