CHRIS Lutz did an Andre Iguodala on Friday night when San Miguel Beer gained the early lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals with a 108-78 rout of Alaska in Game One.
Like the Golden State Warriors forward who became the NBA Finals MVP after returning as a starter in the title series against Cleveland, the SMB wingman made a surprise start in the opener of the best-of-seven series and provided an early spark for the Beermen.
Lutz, who has sacrificed his starting spot this season, came in averaging 3.1 points, 1.1 assists, .9 rebound, and .5 steal in 15.8 minutes, starting only once in 17 games this conference.
The former Gilas guard said he didn't mind.
“I don't mind it at all,” Lutz said. “Whatever this team needs, it doesn't matter as long as we win, we get closer to our goal, it's all that matters.”
But given a rare start by Leo Austria, Lutz was quick to repay the SMB coach's faith by scattering 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including three three-pointers, to go with four boards, one assist, and one steal in 27 minutes.
Lutz also set the tone for the blowout, scoring all but three of his total output in the first quarter, which the Beermen dominated to open a 13-point lead that held to the end.
“Guys have been stepping up whole year. We have a really deep bench. Guys like Jay-R (Reyes), Gabby (Espinas), they're starters on other teams. We just got to be ready,” Lutz said.
“We know Alaska is real deep too, they use a lot of their guys. It's the finals, everybody has to be ready to step up, get out there and do the job.”
Lutz believes he could even be an X-factor.
“Anybody could be an X-factor,” the Filipino-American guard/forward said. “When I come in, I know we're not going to get a ton of minutes. I just got to do my job, play good defense, hit open shots, and play off AZ (Reid) and June Mar (Fajardo).”