With Arwind Santos not feeling a hundred percent, San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria used a different combination start the game against GlobalPort Sunday, and it resulted into rousing success.
Beermen import Arizona Reid played the four position instead of the usual small forward, joining hands with wing guys Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, playmaker Chris Ross, and big man June Mar Fajardo to form a deadly four-out, high-octane unit that jumped to a 27-16 lead in the first period.
Reid sank three triples in the opening quarter alone, and finished with a whopping 41 points on 9-for-11 from downtown, as he spaced the floor well to knock down open shots.
The small lineup eventually exposed GlobalPort’s lack of forwards who are versatile enough to defend stretch fours of opposing units. Billy Mamaril, Mark Isip, and Doug Kramer are all traditional power forwards that did not offer much in going out of the paint to contest outside shots.
As a result, San Miguel was about 27 points per 100 possessions better (130.19 offensive rating) when Reid is playing the four as compared to when he is playing the three (103.57 ORTG).
“It’s a matter of strategy. We know their big men cannot contain AZ at the four. If they field a big lineup that is the time I will put AZ at no. three para may advantage,” Austria shared when asked about the small unit.
Santos, interestingly, played only 15 minutes and was 2-for-10 from the field. The Beermen offense also suffered when he and Alex Cabagnot are on the floor at the same time (97.61 points per 100 possessions) than when both of them are on the bench (142.2 points per one hundred possessions).
In the conference so far, Reid has showed he is the better stretch four, shooting about 30 percent from downtown compared to Santos’ woeful 10 percent, as per HumbleBola.com. This is considering only 30 percent of Reid’s total shot attempts are three-pointers while Santos shoots a bigger volume of triples (43 percent of total shots).
“It’s a lot more comfortable instead of the corner. Coach made some adjustments and put me at the four since Arwind (Santos) was not feeling well and I stepped up,” Reid said.
“We got to an early hole, 0-2 and got a lot of doubters saying AZ this, AZ that. I told you I can’t control (them) when I am sick but I can control them when I am healthy, and I bet I don’t have a lot of doubters now. I guarantee that. They know what I can do so I was not in panic mode. I just have to keep myself healthy. I am healthy now so that makes the difference. It is going to be difficult to beat us.”
With Reid back to top form, the Beermen only got even deadlier, and playing him at the four spot depending on which teams the squad plays may result to success for San Miguel in this conference.
Spreading the floor well in the era of three-pointers is vital, and the beauty of fielding him as a stretch four is that it sucks the defense out from the other threats, like Lassiter who shot 9-for-14 against the Batang Pier for 24 points.
“It helps, he gives us a different dimension and a different attack. We know its always good to have different ways to attack the defense. It’s just a trea for him to be able to play both inside and out, you can’t find a lot of players who can do that,” Lassiter said.
Having Santos off the bench is also a huge plus instead of fielding them together at the same time. This guarantees both forwards will be fresh while giving the team impact.