San Miguel Beer turns cold in Game 1 as Magnolia clamps down on defense
MANILA, Philippines—Marcio Lassiter’s potential game-tying triple hit the side of the backboard that had San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria shaking his head.
Lassiter, the deadliest shooter in the league today, went scoreless going 0-of-8 from the field. To Lassiter’s defense, he just came back after dealing with back spasms that kept him out of the tailend of the semifinals against Phoenix.
And he’s also not the only San Miguel player who struggled mightily from the offensive end.
Chris Ross and Terrence Romeo each missed nine of their 11 attempts while Arwind Santos had a good start but went on to shoot 4-of-12 from the field. Christian Standhardinger also couldn’t get anything going with just two points on 1-of-3 shots.
“If you will take a look at the stats, there’s one thing that stood out for me and it was our shooting percentage,” Austria told reporters Wednesday following a 99-94 loss to Magnolia in Game 1 of the Philippine Cup finals.
“That means our shot selection was not good but we have to give credit to our opponent. The reason why we had a bad shot selection is because of their defense,” he added. “That’s the main culprit.”
The Hotshots’ vaunted defense held the Beermen to just 38 percent from the field, including 25 percent from long distance.
“My players responded in the second half and we were able to limit San Miguel to under 100 points and that was the key,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said.
June Mar Fajardo carried much of the offensive load for the Beermen with 35 points on 11-of-17 shooting that went with 21 rebounds. He scored his team’s last 15 points inside the final seven minutes of the game that nearly completed SMB’s comeback from 10 points down.
Austria remained upbeat heading into Game 2, knowing the series had just begun.
The Beermen also dropped Game 1 of last year’s All-Filipino finals against the Hotshots before taking the next four to win the series in five games.
“This is only just the first game and we’re lucky this is not a knockout game. We still have a lot of time to regroup and know what to do next game,” Austria said.
“I think next game it will be a different ball game.”
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