Leo Austria

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Leovino R. Austria (born March 14, 1958), better known as Leo Austria, born in Sariaya, Quezon, is a retired Filipino professional basketball player and former head coach of the Welcoat Dragons and the Shell Turbo Chargers in the Philippine Basketball Association. He is also the 1985 PBA Rookie of the Year. He later became the head coach of Chowking, Shark Energy Drink, and Welcoat/Rain or Shine in the Philippine Basketball League. He is currently the head coach of the San Miguel Beermen.

Playing career[edit]

Austria played his college basketball for the Lyceum of the Philippines University while also suiting up in the commercial Philippine Amateur Basketball League. In 1984, Austria was named the Most Valuable Player of the Ambassador's Cup before joining the PBA.

In 1985, new team Formula Shell drafted Austria, aside from nabbing fellow PABL standout Sonny Cabatu in the said draft. Austria made a quick impact for the new but veteran laden Shell squad and won the Rookie of the Year honors at season's end. His average of 3.9 points per game for the 1985 season marked the lowest average for a Rookie of the Year awardee up to that time.[1] During his stint at Shell, Austria played backup point guard for Bernie Fabiosa, Al Solis, then Ronnie Magsanoc.[1] Austria later played for Pepsi and was out of the league after the 1993 season. In 394 games played, he averaged 4.5 points a ballgame. He had been known for his three-point shooting.[1]

In 1998, he was awarded the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan Award for sports in 1998. The QMK Award is given to outstanding Quezonians who exceled in their chosen fields. In 1999, Austria suited up for a few games as a playing coach for his team Chowking due to injuries of his point guards.

Coaching career[edit]

Philippine Basketball League[edit]

Austria's first coaching stint was for Chowking during the late 90s. During those days, he steered Chowking to numerous semifinal appearances but were unable to clinch a finals appearance against powerhouse and PBA-bound team Tanduay, Red Bull, and Welcoat.

After Chowking was renamed as Shark Energy Drink in 2000, Austria led the team to two titles in four finals matches against Welcoat from 2000 to 2002. Austria coached a team led by Chester Tolomia, Roger Yap, Ervin Sotto, and Gilbert Malabanan.

In late 2002, Austria moved to former rival Welcoat Paints as its new head coach after returning from a one conference absence. With a star-studded lineup of Rommel Adducul, Paul Artadi, Eddie Laure, Ronald Tubid, and Marc Pingris, he led the Paintmasters to the 2002 PBL Challenge Cup championship over Dazz in a three-game sweep.

Austria later led Welcoat to a runner-up finish in 2003 with James Yap as one of its star players.

Shell Turbo Chargers[edit]

In 2004, Shell dismissed American head coach John Moran and named Austria as its new head coach, 19 years after starting his PBA career with the said team. This led to Austria leaving the Welcoat franchise for the big league. During his only season with the Turbo Chargers, Austria coached a young but talented team of Tony dela Cruz, Ronald Tubid, Rookie of the Year Rich Alvarez, Billy Mamaril, and Roger Yap to two semifinal appearances and a third-place finish in the 2005 Fiesta Conference. However, Shell disbanded after the 2004-2005 season. Austria thus returned to the amateur ranks.

Adamson Falcons[edit]

In 2005, Austria was named head coach of the Adamson Falcons in the UAAP replacing Mel Alas after a disappointing 3-11 stint. With Austria at the helm, the Falcons made their first-ever Final Four appearance since the format was introduced. However, they were eliminated by the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a closely fought semifinals. But, individual players blossomed with Ken Bono winning the UAAP MVP.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters/Welcoat Dragons[edit]

In 2006, Welcoat bought the Shell franchise to join the PBA as its 10th member. With this development, Austria was renamed head coach of the Welbest franchise, this time carrying the banner of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in preparation for their PBA debut. The Painters placed third in the 2006 PBL Unity Cup in the team's final conference.

Austria was formally named as the head coach of the Welcoat Dragons in the PBA. But after two seasons with the team, he resigned as head coach citing that the management wanted a new direction. His former assistant Caloy Garcia took over his spot.

Coaching record[edit]

Professional record[edit]

Season Conference Team Elims./Clas. round Playoffs
W L PCT Finish PG W L PCT Results
2004–05 Philippine Cup SHL 12 6 .667 3rd 4 0 4 .000 Lost in third-place playoff
Fiesta SHL 7 11 .389 9th 8 5 3 .625 Won in third-place playoff
2005–06 Fiesta (Coached for the Adamson Falcons)
Philippine Cup
2006–07 Philippine Cup WEL 3 15 .167 10th 0 Did not qualify
Fiesta WEL 4 14 .222 10th 0 Did not qualify
2006–07 Philippine Cup WEL 4 14 .222 10th 0 Did not qualify
Totals 30 60 .333 12 5 7 .417 0 championships

Collegiate record[edit]

Season Team Eliminations Playoffs
W L PCT Finish PG W L PCT Results
2006 AdU 6 6 .500 4th 2 0 2 .000 Lost to UST in the 3rd-seed playoff, Lost to Ateneo in the semifinals
2007 (Coached for the Welcoat Dragons)
2008 AdU 3 11 .214 7th Did not qualify
2009 AdU 5 9 .358 5th Did not qualify
2010 AdU 9 5 .643 3rd 1 0 1 .000 Lost to Ateneo in the semifinals
2011 AdU 10 4 .714 2nd 2 0 2 .000 Lost to FEU in the semifinals
2012 AdU 3 11 .214 6th Did not qualify
Totals 36 46 .439 5 0 5 .000 0 championships

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Santos, Rickie (1990), 1989-1990 PBA Annual, Pasig City, Philippines: Philippine Basketball Association, p. 90 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Unknown
Chowking/Shark head coach
1990s-2002
Succeeded by
Jing Ruiz
Preceded by
Junel Baculi
Welcoat/Rain or Shine PBL franchise head coach
2002-04
Succeeded by
Caloy Garcia
Preceded by
John Moran
Shell Turbo Chargers head coach
2004-05
Succeeded by
Final
Preceded by
Caloy Garcia
Welcoat/Rain or Shine PBL franchise head coach
2006
Succeeded by
Final
Preceded by
Mel Alas
Adamson Falcons head coach
2006
Succeeded by
Bogs Adornado
Preceded by
First
Welcoat Dragons head coach
2006-2008
Succeeded by
Caloy Garcia
Preceded by
Bogs Adornado
Adamson Falcons head coach
2008
Succeeded by
(incumbent)