MARCIO Lassiter is the first to admit that without injured big man June Mar Fajardo to worry about, opposing teams have been able to clamp down on Petron's armada of deadly gunners.
Considered one of the deadliest catch-and-shoot players in the PBA today, Lassiter has seen his numbers go down to 11.3 points since Fajardo sat down the Boosters’ last three games in the PLDTmyDSL-Philippine Cup.
With Fajardo manning the frontline for the team, Lassiter thrived from the outside by averaging 16.2 points in the Boosters’ first eight games.
The Boosters have gone 1-2 without Fajardo in the lineup as the pride of Cebu continues to recuperate from a sprained MCL on his right knee.
“As far as his (Fajardo’s) presence, he changes our style of play. We obviously don’t have the inside presence anymore, so that creates different opportunities (for other teams),” Lassiter told Spin.ph before the team’s Thursday afternoon practice at the Reyes gym.
The 6-foot Lassiter failed to score in double figures twice in the team’s last three games, including Petron’s 88-92 loss to Barako Bull Wednesday night.
The Fil-Am shooting guard struggled from the field with just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. The game also saw Lassiter’s 20 straight games of at least converting a three-point field goal finally come to an end.
Lassiter meanwhile, was held down to just five points on 2-of-15 shooting in the Boosters’ 83-79 loss against Barangay Ginebra in their Christmas Day showdown.
The soft-spoken former Smart Gilas mainstay admitted Barako Bull played him well defensively, which resulted in his limited touches against the Energy.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), Barako Bull did a good job guarding me so they won’t allow me to touch the ball. Pretty good game plan for them,” he said.
But Lassiter believes the team won’t fold up despite the absence of Fajardo as the team still has enough scoring threat left.
“But we still have four other guys on the court. So if I score zero points and I contribute in different ways and we get the win, that’s totally fine,” he added.
Against Globalport on Friday, Lassiter is confident Petron, led by reigning league MVP Arwind Santos, playmaker Alex Cabagnot, Chris Lutz, and the improved play of backup center Doug Kramer, will be back with a vengeance.
“A lot of these (other) teams are pretty much in survival mode, so it’s all or nothing. They are giving all their punches, so the sense of urgency is very high,” he said.
“We just have to understand that and play at a higher level.”