Amid unconfirmed trade talks and speculations over the past week, San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria shared how vital it is to have wing man Marcio Lassiter as one of the integral parts of the defending Philippine Cup champions.
Austria, who took over the San Miguel franchise as head coach this season, claims Lassiter is “the main reason” why he likes coaching the squad and that he is “not the kind of player you want to be traded.”
“I know from the very beginning Marcio [Lassiter] could shine for our team. Maybe this is the start. Nobody talks to me about trades or changing of imports. These two guys, yan ba ang kailangan palitan mo? I think lahat ng coaches ito ang kailangang player eh. They were on fire tonight,” Austria told media after San Miguel’s 124-102 demolition of GlobalPort Sunday.
“He is one of the main reasons why I like coaching [this team].”
Lassiter did play as if trying to shake off speculation, firing a season-high 24 points on 9-for-14 field goal shooting, while hitting 5 of his 7 attempts from three-point land.
Through four games in the conference, the former national team member is averaging more than 14 points per match and is shooting at a 54.2 percent clip from beyond the arc, showing how valuable he is to the franchise as far as backcourt scoring is concerned.
“We were on the same page. The first three games, you can hardly see them taking those shots na pumapasok. The biggest factor here is our energy,” Austria added.
Lassiter later bared that while he is aware of reports that never real came to fruition, he only focused on being professional and doing his duty as an athlete.
“Everyone has certain situations or issues but my whole mentality is to be professional. I know I have to play. We have a lot of making up to do from last conference and as one of the leaders I have to step up. I know there were issues but when I enter the court,” he said.
There is truly nothing permanent in professional basketball, but both Austria and Lassiter assured themselves and fans they have mutual respect and trust for each other.