It’s Happy hour for SMB

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
It�s Happy hour for SMB
June Mar Fajardo

For the first 24 minutes of play, upset-conscious Converge had unbeaten leader San Miguel Beer to a corner.

MANILA, Philippines — Then Marcio Lassiter whipped up a storm in the third quarter to reverse the tide and help clear the way to a “routine” 112-103 victory for SMB in the PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the PhilSports Arena.

With Lassiter rifling in five booming triples to neutralize their foes’ zone after the restart, the Beermen pummeled the FiberXers, 51-20, to wrest full control after trailing by 12 early on and make it six in a row.

This virtually guaranteed the defending champions of their place in the quarterfinal stage with plenty to spare. Along the way, they extended the misery of the FiberXers, who stayed winless in eight assignments.

The sweet-shooting Lassiter shot 17 coming off the half-time break to spark the breakaway, drawing a thumbs-up sign and smile from former import Bennie Boatwright in his seat across the SMB bench.

The Fil-Am sniper finished with 19 to back up top scorer CJ Perez (25). Don Trollano, who fired 11 in the third, matched Lassiter’s total even as Terrence Romeo shot 18 and June Mar Fajardo scored 14 with 17 rebounds.

“We had a bad start but I told the players games are not finished in the first half; you got to pick up your game in the second half, which everybody did, especially Marcio,” said SMB coach Jorge Gallent of Lassiter.

“We were down by seven but when Marcio was hitting his shots, we went up by 15 and that opened up the lane for June Mar,” he added.

Lassiter’s game-changing bombing put him one triple away from tying James Yap for fourth in the league’s all-time most conversions at 1,194.

“I was a bit upset and hesitant in the first half and coach gave me a talk and said you have to shoot because it’s not helping our team if you don’t stretch the floor. And that’s what I did,” he said.

SMB put to waste the career-high 36 of Converge’s young star Alec Stockton.

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