MARCIO Lassiter was among the first to respond to coach Leo Austria’s challenge as he set the pace for San Miguel’s strong start on the way to a 105-92 win that tied the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series between the reigning champions and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Lassiter finished with 20 points – including 16 in the first half – and was 4-of-4 from three-point range in a performance that brought a smile to the face of coach Leo Austria, who, just two days ago, warned his players not to wait for him to get angry following a sorry loss in Game Three, 111-106.
“I’m just stepping up. We all know it’s going to be a physical Game Four,” said Lassiter, who added seven rebounds and three assists.
“It’s a must-win and we just know we have to play harder and get the win.”
Lassiter also understands the sentiment of Austria, who lamented the Beermen did not follow instructions in the final seconds of Game Three and the team just trailing, 107-106.
“Things happen. You’ve just got to work hard and things will get going,” said the Gilas Pilipinas pool member.
The 13-point win by the Beermen tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2. Game Five is set on Wednesday also at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
At the same time, Lassiter wished Jericho Cruz well after seeing the Rain or Shine guard in uniform despite suffering a bruised bone and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his left knee.
Lassiter said he hasn’t spoken yet to the 25-year-old Cruz, with whom he collided in the waning seconds of Saturday’s game that resulted in the sophomore guard being wheeled out of the Big Dome on a stretcher.
“I didn’t get the chance to see him. I hope he’s doing well,” he said of Cruz, who was not fielded in by coach Yeng Guiao.
“If I get the chance to see him personally, I will definitely (talk to him).”