SAN Miguel Beer showed that it can beat Magnolia in the Hotshots’ own game again, coasting to a 111-87 win in Game Three on Easter Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
Marcio Lassiter paced the offense with 24 points, built around five triples, but credited their defense in the second half for the blowout against the defense-oriented Hotshots.
SMB committed 20 turnovers, but forced the Hotshots to three more errors that it turned into 14 bonus points.
“We knew that in the first half we had a lot of turnovers, we gave them a lot of easy points, so we were able to limit that,” Lassiter said. “We controlled out turnovers and we forced turnovers [on Magnolia] and we capitalized on that.”
“That's what happened in the second half: our defense led to offense,” he added as the Beermen put up an encore to their 92-77 win in Game Two.
Lassiter had plenty of open looks as the Magnolia defense also paid attention to the SMB bench, led by Brian Heruala and Gabby Espinas, who combined for 20 of SMB’s 33 bench points.
“The bench played tremendous tonight. They gave us a lot of energy,” Lassiter said. “I felt like it kinda helped just to get more output from us.”
And the SMB sniper believes the Beermen will continue to be tough to beat if they keep getting balanced production from their starters and second unit – that was evident in their fourth-quarter breakaway.
“That's our style of play. We’ve been doing it for a while,” Lassiter said. “We just wanna continue doing it for 48 minutes consistently. And yeah, when our shots are going and our defense goes on, it's just pretty tough to guard.”
“We know we're capable of doing that every night, so we just have to come out and prepare ourselves on Wednesday,” he added as the Beermen try to move a win away from winning an unprecedented fourth straight all-Filipino title in Game Four.