Marcio Lassiter is first and foremost a shooter and his stat lines tend to be defined by such.
It isn’t uncommon to see most, if not all of Lassiter’s points come from 3-pointers, and playing for a loaded team like the San Miguel Beermen opens up opportunities for him to thrive in a role where he can make defenses pay.
All of Lassiter’s game-high 18 points came off six 3-pointers, all of which helped set the stage for a solid shooting night for the Beermen in their 123-93 win over the Blackwater Bossing. The outcome was never in doubt from the opening tip as SMB was ahead the entire game, building a lead that ballooned to as many as 39 points with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Much of Lassiter’s game has been predicated on finding open spots on the floor, especially as he got older, and how the 35-year old does it is more of practicing patience rather than forcing things. Basketball players tend to probe with their dribble or run around trying to find some openings. However, for the eight-time PBA champion, it has been about biding his time.
Spots on the floor become prime scoring opportunities when the defense falls asleep or forgets to cover any emerging gaps. At times, Lassiter seems to sneak towards a spot on the floor and even when scouting reports emphasize how he shouldn’t be left behind he tends to catch opposing players off-guard.
Lassiter shot 37.1 percent from behind the 3-point line during the preliminary round of the 2022 PBA Honda Philippine Cup, which is more or less in line with his career 3-point shooting percentage (as of 2021) of 37.9 percent. His current shooting numbers are the second highest on the San Miguel roster, behind Robbie Herndon, but Lassiter leads the team in 3-point attempts per game (6.36) and makes per game (2.36). In fact, he also joined a pretty exclusive club just last month.
Part of what has also helped Lassiter continue to thrive is the personnel he is surrounded by and that has allowed him to be more selective with his shots. Defenses always gravitate towards June Mar Fajardo and the six-time PBA MVP has been a much more effective passer at least for this season so the play doesn’t stop with him. Lassiter making 3-pointers consistently will stretch the defense and give Fajardo even more space to operate inside, while it also gives the likes of CJ Perez and Jericho Cruz more driving lanes to create for themselves and even those around them.
This cycle of give-and-take is also just one of the reasons SMB won the PBA Philippine Cup title for a five-season stretch from 2014 up to 2019 and managed to stay within striking distance of the championship even during their lean years. It’s not necessarily an equal opportunity offense since Lassiter, Perez, Cruz, and Fajardo take most of the shot attempts, but it goes to show that anyone can step up for the Beermen. That it isn’t dependent on athleticism also helps in its staying power and makes it a formula SMB can look to in the future.
Regardless of whether the Beermen will face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings or the Meralco Bolts in the best-of-7 semifinals in the 2022 Philippine Cup, Lassiter’s role as a floor spacer will be crucial. SMB will encounter an opponent that could match up with them from a size perspective (Ginebra) or one that can develop an intricate defensive scheme against opponents (Meralco). Either way, it will require a whole-of-team effort in which Lassiter will be very much involved in.
The San Miguel Beermen are a deep squad primed for a long playoff run, but a part of their success this season (and in year’s past) has come thanks to the shooting of Marcio Lassiter. Days of cold shooting nights will be offset by red-hot scoring, but sometimes all it takes to change the complexion of a game in one’s favor is to be there at the right place at the right time.