The Beermen had plenty of weapons and it basically spelled the difference as they were able to overturn a double-digit deficit in the third quarter and take over down the stretch in the fourth period.
A small lineup with Reid at the four (which we will discuss below) again helped the Beermen to extend their hot streak.
“We want somebody who is very agile and a lot of shooters. Pinagsasabay ko para bumuka talaga [ang depensa]. We tried to beat them in the perimeter. Lumalabas ang kanilang import so nagkakaroon ng opportunity si AZ [Reid] umatake,” Austria shared on putting Reid at the four spot.
Here are three things we learned from the win that ended Barako Bull’s unbeaten streak at four.
The mere fact that Santos had an atrocious outing (Read: 2 points, 1-for-8 shooting, minus-16 in 22 minutes) and San Miguel still won pretty much speaks of the depth of the team. Tubid fired 12 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, helping space the floor and complement the small lineup.
Marcio Lassiter scored 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Fajardo, despite playing only 18:30, wounded up with 22 points on a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and had 11 free throw attempts.
Overall, six Beermen scored in twin digits and with Fajardo and Liam McMorrow (31 points, 25 rebounds) just cancelling each other out, the team with the better support crew to surround the big emerged victorious. San Miguel also assisted 23 of its 44 makes.
“I think we had a full team that really contributed tonight. We could not stop our big guy but we knew it was going to be a tough night, and our support team just did their job,” Chris Lutz said.
Reid at the four against a roster that did not have stretch fours to counter (Rico Maierhofer, Willie Wilson, Jake Pascual) definitely helped the Beermen.
Like what he did against the GlobalPort Batang Pier, AZ Reid once again played the four position for most of the match and it resulted into success. Coach Leo Austria’s troops were still down 64-75 in the third when Austria decided to pull out Arwind Santos and inserted Alex Cabagnot to join Reid, Chris Ross, June Mar Fajardo, and Marcio Lassiter.
The Beermen quickly trimmed the deficit to half, and took the lead after three quarters, 87-86.
The small unit did not only spread the defense of Barako; it was also vital on the defensive end as San Miguel had a quicker group to switch on the ball screens and defensive assignments.
As far as complementary pieces are concerned, San Miguel had more floor-spacers and bigs who can hit from outside. None of Barako’s forwards save for JC Intal (who was 2-for-7 from three-point area in the loss) takes a volume of shots from deep.
The loophole was exposed in the final play when Joseph Yeo tried to shake off the defense using a Willie Wilson ball screen. But Reid and Tubid were not too concerned since Wilson isn’t a roll option and does not also shoot well from the perimeter, so Yeo was defended well and hoisted a forced shot.
“We can talk and move and do different things with different guys on ball screens. We were active that way. We have tools for whatever the game needs,” Lutz added.
“That’s what it is going to take to make the finals or havr a seed in the playoffs. Every team has great imports and it is all up to the rest of the team to fill it in.”
In the second quarter, Maierhofer made a basket but lost his shoe along the way, so in the ensuing play he picked up the shoe and tried to catch up. He managed to bother a shot by Espinas with the shoe serving as an extension of his hand.
Austria shared his thoughts on the play which drew laughter from the Smart Araneta Coliseum crowd; he was a bit livid about it and there is a legitimate reason for that.
“That was illegal,” he said. “Kung ganoon edi pwede ko hubarin ang shirt ko at ibato na lang.”
Plus, if San Miguel lost by 1, that shoe would have made the difference.
Still, thank you to Maierhofer for entertaining us on a busy Wednesday!