With import Tyler Wilkerson and June Mar Fajardo making an impact downlow, San Miguel head coach Leo Austria thinks Marcio Lassiter failed to deliver when they needed him to shoot the lights out in the endgame.
“He is the missing link,” said Austria, moments after the Beermen lost their footing in Game 1 of their best-of-5 semifinals series. “Kung isa or dalawa lang pumasok doon (sa open shots), it’s a different ballgame.”
Lassiter played his worst game in the conference on Sunday, finishing with just 3 points courtesy of a single three-pointer in 7 attempts with a measly 11% field goal efficiency against Rain or Shine.
“Yung mga ganung (open shot) kailangang kailangan yun, kwekwentahin mo yung pagdating ng endgame,” rued the coach, adding Lassiter also did not show up on the defensive side. “Lahat ng tao nya ata, nakashoot sa kanya, wala naman siyang maiganti offensively.”
A proven sniper for San Miguel in their championship conquests, Lassiter struggled with just 30% long-bomb percentage in their 3 playoff games, a far cry from his 43.8% average after the eliminations.
Although alarmed with Lassiter’s current shooting slump, Austria still wanted to give him the green light to attempt those threes but with condition.
“You cannot blame him,” he said. “Ayokong tanggalin ‘yung kumpyansa nya kasi before ginagawa niya rin yan but I have to point out na hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon, you have the freedom to take the shot because this is the playoff time.”
“I told him before ‘you’re a marked man, and it will be really hard for you to get an open shot,'” said Austria on Lassiter.
The Gilas sniper is currently at 12th spot of the Best Player of the Conference race with 19.9 statistical points with his teammate June Mar Fajardo leading the pack with 27.52 SPs. – By Jason Mercene
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