June Mar’s miss paved the way for Marcio’s game-winner

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 11, 2018 10:20 PM
June Mar’s miss paved the way for Marcio’s game-winner
Marcio Lassiter's game-winner was made possible by June Mar Fajardo's miss

With the tally tied at 102-all with 15.8 seconds remaining in overtime, San Miguel head coach Leo Austria designed a play for four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.

Of course, the multi-titled mentor went to his most dominant player to try and win Game 2 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals.

Why wouldn’t he as Fajardo remains, far and away, the biggest difference-maker on both teams.

And so, in the game’s decisive play, Fajardo screened for Marcio Lassiter and then sliced through the lane.

Lassiter then sent a well-targeted pass right to the chest of his 6-foot-10 center.

Only, with no one to challenge him, Fajardo botched his layup.

Good thing then that right after his pass, Lassiter also went right at the basket and tipped the ball in.

That proved to be the difference for the Beermen up against hot-starting Ginebra.

As it turns out, Austria knew that his sweet-shooting guard was going to do what he was going to do. “Marcio talaga and kukuha ng bola and he executed it well. It happened lang na June Mar, na-miss niya yung layup,” the mentor said.

He then continued, “But the presence of mind ni Marcio is always there and na-putback niya. Sabi ko nga, tsamba dahil instinct na ni Marcio yun.”

Indeed, Lassiter himself knew that his responsibility didn’t end with setting up the play for their big man. “I found June Mar and I just knew I had to finish the play. If ever they did any switch, he might have gotten blocked or something so I just wanted to be there to tip it in,” he said.

Of course, that mentality was established and reinforced by all the battles San Miguel has fought en route to three straight Philippine Cup championships. “We thought from the start na we’re losing this game, but because of the pride and the experience of the team, they didn’t want to lose because they knew the importance of this game,” Austria said.

Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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