Lassiter’s warning: Beermen must not underestimate streaking Hotshots
Marcio Lassiter sighed heavily when reminded of what’s ahead for the depleted San Miguel Beermen, who after getting beaten soundly by an import-less NorthPort Batang Pier, are going to face the unbeaten PBA Commissioner’s Cup leader Magnolia Hotshots on Sunday.
“They got all their players playing well and they’re playing at a high level,” Lassiter told The Inquirer before leaving the Philsports Arena in Pasig City Friday with his family. “If we don’t bring that same energy and if we bring this type of energy [that we showed against NorthPort], we’ll be blown out even more.”
San Miguel lost, 115-101, two nights prior despite NorthPort coming in without its reinforcement Venky Jois due to a hamstring problem. In theory, the Beermen should have been at a huge advantage with their import Ivan Aska suiting up.
But San Miguel’s injuries woes continue to worsen after playing minus June Mar Fajardo for the first time this conference due to his fractured hand, joining Terrence Romeo, Jeron Teng, Vic Manuel, rookie Kyt Jimenez and now Noy Baclao and Simon Enciso on the sidelines.
Only eight players were used by coach Jorge Gallent with Lassiter and fellow veteran Chris Ross forced to log heavy minutes. Ross appeared for 41 minutes while Lassiter showed up for 35.
Adding to the misery was San Miguel’s difficulty matching up with the NorthPort youngsters led by rookies Cade Flores, Fran Yu and Brent Paraiso and second-year center JM Calma, who were all impressive for NorthPort.
“We gave up a lot of points, and that [was against a team] without an import,” Lassiter lamented. “I think everyone as a whole didn’t bring it. I’m disappointed for the fans that watched because we should have come out with better effort.”
Better effort is indeed a thing San Miguel wants to show at 6:15 p.m. inside Philsports against a Magnolia side on a roll with six straight wins, and almost every player being inserted by coach Chito Victolero delivering, especially import Tyler Bey and Jio Jalalon.
Victolero did insist that having the manpower edge won’t be an assurance for Magnolia, but it would certainly help the Hotshots if San Miguel comes out flat again.