Spacing has been the biggest difference for the San Miguel Beermen as it went ahead, 2-0 in the best-of-7 PBA Governors’ Cup finals series against the Alaska Aces.
With solid post-up options complemented by a plethora of shooters, San Miguel has given Alaska trouble defensively when it comes to rotation and recovery.
The Beermen have attempted 28 more triples in the first two games, and have knocked down 27 compared to only 10 for the Aces. In addition, the Beermen have also assisted 21.5 of their 36 averages field goal makes in the first two matches.
That spacing was what killed the Aces in Game 2. Leading 87-78 in the final 7 minutes of regulation, the Beermen stole the show by finding open shooters as a result of solid ball movement and pick and roll plays.
Marcio Lassiter drained two huge triples down the wire of Game 2 to help the Beermen shock the Aces, 103-95. Lassiter finished with 17 points including 5-for-10 from three-point land, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. He also credits his teammates for helping him find open spots.
“We had 25 assists and if we are sharing the ball that much, good things happen,” he said. “I have to give credit to my teammates because they are the ones who made it possible for me to get open shots and I just have to be ready.”
“We have to take it one game at a time and it will be crucial. I guess the odds will be heavy if we win (Game 3) but we are going to make adjustments because they did well. We have to make sure we correct mistakes.”
AZ Reid himself is averaging seven assists per game in the finals, facilitating well from the low block where has shown to a more evident extent his back-to-the-basket game.
“I guess they are just changing things. When we get the ball to AZ, we have full trust in what we he can do. It starts with the big guys. It starts with June Mar and AZ and we are an inside-to-out team. If they are doubling we are just taking outside shots,” Lassiter added.
“Malaking bagay ang spacing against any team. Especially against Alaska and Rain or Shine, they are clogging the lanes because of June Mar and AZ. Fortunately, we have a lot of shooters so it is hard for them to rotate. If they do not double, the ball is going to be with June Mar,” head coach Leo Austria said.
On the cusp of winning the team’s second title in just a season, San Miguel needs to play the same way and take advantage of the space that they have to prevent a resilient Alaska side from fighting back.