COMEBACKING Marcio Lassiter played his first tune-up game for San Miguel in a 106-92 rout of Blackwater which the Beermen pulled off despite playing with a depleted lineup before a sizeable crowd at the TIP gym in Manila.
Lassiter, who's close to fully recovered from broncopneumonia that kept him out of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the Olympic qualifier, played for a short stretch in the PBA campus tour game on Friday but still scored 16 points.
It was the first tune-up match for the deadly Fil-am gunner since rejoining the Beermen in their daily practice last Monday.
"I just fielded him for a few minutes for him to be able to have a feel of the game again," said SMB coach Leo Austria afterwards.
As per Austria's assessment, Lassiter is still 70 percent fit after taking a rest for almost a month to recover from his ailment.
"But I expect him to be back in fighting form by the start of the conference (Governors Cup)," said Austria, who noted the former Cal State Fullerton stalwart lost a lot of weight.
The Beermen played without key players Arwind Santos, Yancy de Ocampo, Gabby Espinas, and of course Jun Mar Fajardo who is the lone player from SMB to make the Gilas lineup.
Blackwater also played without both its regular and Asian import.
For Austria though, a win is still a win.
"This shows that we're on the right track," said the soft-spoken coach of the Beermen's title defense in the season-ending conference.
Shortly after the match, the Beermen went straight to Pampanga for an overnight team building session.