MARCIO Lassiter believes San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria knew what he was doing when the Beermen played without a go-to scorer late in the third quarter of Game Six of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against Alaska.
After the SMB gunner came out with three minutes and 54 seconds to go in the third quarter and the Beermen trailing, 59-50, the squad was left with an odd lineup composed of subs Doug Kramer, Chris Ross, Ronald Tubid, Bitoy Omolon, and David Semerad.
Going into the game, Semerad had the highest scoring average of the quintet with 5.8 points in the first five games of the series, while Tubid (5.4), Ross (4.8), Kramer (3.8), and Omolon (1.6) had lower norms.
Lassiter was one of only two players who scored in double digits for the Beermen with 19 points.
Although the Beermen managed to trim the deficit to seven, 63-56, entering the final frame — thanks to Omolon’s tough two-point conversion that beat the quarter buzzer, leading scorers in Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo, Chris Lutz, and Lassiter could have helped. Alex Cabagnot replaced Omolon at the start of the fourth quarter.
But Austria appeared to have no choice but to rest his stars during that time after playing them heavily in the first half.
But Lassiter, who still played a team-high 40 minutes, kept his faith in Austria.
“I trust coach. Coach’s Leo’s doing a phenomenal job and I trust coach every second that I’ve been with him this conference. I’m a firm believer of what he’s doing.”
Asked what his thoughts were when he was at the bench at the crucial juncture, Fajardo took a long pause then said: “Hindi ko alam eh.”
Lassiter couldn’t pinpoint what did them in and allowed the Aces to force a deciding Game Seven.
“I’m not sure right now (what went wrong), but I’m sure we’ll go the drawing board and check out film and see what will happen,” the Filipino-American wingman said.
“Probably one key we should work on is maybe not give out those (many) rebounds,” he added after the Aces outrebounded the Beermen, 57-46.