MARCIO Lassiter’s passion for winning is immeasurable. Yet, not at the extent of doing physical harm to others.
The San Miguel gunner stressed he’s not a dirty player in the wake of the two technical fouls called on him that led to his ejection following a row with Terrence Romeo during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup game showdown between the defending champion Beermen and TnT Katropa on Saturday night.
Romeo likewise received two technical fouls from game officials for outright ejection that took place at the 3:40 mark of the second quarter and San Miguel protecting a 48-37 lead.
“I’m a clean player, everybody knows that,” said Lassiter when SPIN.ph caught up with him. “I’m never dirty.”
The 26-year-old Romeo already left the Katropa dugout when sought out for his side on the incident.
The commotion was sparked following a hard foul committed by Lassiter on a driving Romeo, which the TnT Katropa star didn’t like that led to a minor bump between the two and an ensuing staredown. The two were given technical foul each.
But Romeo wasn’t through yet.
In the next TnT play shortly after another foul on Romeo, the former Far Eastern University guard was seen approaching and taunting Lassiter by clapping on the face of the San Miguel Beer veteran. Lassiter reacted by pushing back Romeo, prompting the referees to call a second technical on both players, leading to their ejection.
Lassiter later said the hard foul against Romeo wasn’t mean to hurt him.
“I play hard D and I play honest D. I’ve been playing that for my whole career,” he stressed.
At the same time, Lassiter said he won’t allow anyone to ‘disrespect me.’
“I’m not going to back down for nobody. I’m here to protect myself,” said the Cal State Fullerton product.
Lassiter said he was stunned by the call as well as Romeo’s sudden outburst.
“Yeah, when I saw him come out,” he said of Romeo. “And I was definitely surprise (with the call). But it is what it is. I can’t do anything about it.”
The match at the Mall of Asia Arena was a rematch between the two teams that tangled during the finals, which the Beermen won in six games.
And it didn’t help any that both teams, too, are coming off sorry losses.
I’m just playing hard. Everybody knew we’re coming off a loss, so were just going to keep playing play hard. That’s just my mentality,” said Lassiter.
Good thing, the defending champion Beermen came out triumphant, 99-94, to even their record at 4-4 and stay on track of earning a top 3 or 4 finish by the end of the eliminations.
“It’s a physical game, very intense to anyone,” said Lassiter. “This game means a lot to both teams. I’m just glad we came out and pull off the win.”