MANILA, Philippines – Marcio Lassiter was smiling ear-to-ear and gushing over receiving what amounts to the highest honor in his book: being compared to his idol Stephen Curry.
Lassiter, a long-time Golden State Warriors fan, was swiftly compared to the two-time NBA MVP by coach Leo Austria when he hit the game-winning 3-pointer to lift the San Miguel Beermen past the Star Hotshots on Wednesday, June 14.
"I'm happy for Marcio because we know Golden State won, and he's a big fan of Golden State so [now] he's taking a shot like Steph Curry," he said after the thrilling 111-110 win in Game 3 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lassiter modestly responded to the comparison: "Man, I'm far from that," a huge timid smile on his face, "but I guess it's always good to, you know, be compared to my idol.
"I've always looked up to him. He's always someone I looked up to so it's just kind of a cool moment to maybe be in that kind of – I'm not even gonna say I'm in his category, it's just my second one. I'm just happy we won the game."
Lassiter salvaged the victory with the difficult stepback 3-pointer off the glass with two seconds left after guard Chris Ross failed to convert on a drive and the possession was kept alive.
His shot negated Star import Ricardo Ratliffe's would-be winner 11 seconds earlier that broke the 108-all deadlock, which was an impressive shot in its own right as Ratliffe prevailed over Charles Rhodes in a one-on-one play at the post, finishing with a spin move.
"Maybe because we're watching a lot of Warriors lately. I don't know, the championship kind of kept on spilling for them," conceded Lassiter, who finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
"Honestly, it was just a great [shot]. I looked up and I saw we had about 6 seconds left so I knew I had some time to kind of get up for a shot. From there, I just wanna make sure that we can get a good shot off. I was just creating enough separation to get a good shot off."
His game-winner occured a day after the Warriors reclaimed the NBA title from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I called game," he quipped, laughing. "Nah. Of course everyone heard it, I called bank yeah. I meant to do that.
"I love the Warrriors. They're gonna repeat again. You know, it was kinda cool to be in that moment," he added.
It was particularly special for Lassiter, too, that his shot counted this time around.
Over a year ago, in the same conference, he knocked down another off-the-glass 3-pointer, from the exact same spot – on the left wing, at the side of the court closest to the locker rooms – inside the Big Dome against Rain or Shine.
San Miguel was similarly down by two at that point, but he wasn't able to get it off in time for the final buzzer after scrambling first for the ball.
"I don't know if you guys remember, last year I also had a buzzer-beater so you know, this is not like a fluke shot," he said.
"It was a Game 2 versus Rain or Shine, it was just like a split second like a 0.1 and I didn't get it off. I'm just kinda glad that this one went in and it just seems like God blessed me today."
Lassiter's post-shot celebration on Wednesday, however, was more subdued and mellowed down, which incidentally was akin to Klay Thompson.
"There was about two seconds left, so I didn't wanna [overreact]. Because you never know, Raffi's (Reavis) shot, it looked like it was gonna go in," he said of his tempered reaction, as opposed to Rhodes who was celebrating more to Curry's style as he ran back up jumping and striding with glee.
The Beermen now lead the best-of-5 series, 2-1, and will be looking to close it out in Game 4 on Friday, June 16. – Rappler.com