The San Miguel Beermen pounced on the shorthanded Blackwater Elite and ran away with a 127-106 victory Friday to get their first win of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena. Marcio Lassiter lit up with nine triples, including seven in the fourth period, on his way to 29 points, three rebounds, and two assists for the Beermen, who picked up their first win after a 0-2 start to open the mid-season conference while dealing Blackwater its second loss in seven games.
"People thought it will be a breeze for us because they were playing without an import. Regardless, we'll take this win," said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
With Blackwater Elite import Alex Stepheson down with food poisoning, the Beermen exploited their size advantage and seized control in the second period.
Blackwater tried mount a comeback, trimming the gap to as low as nine points in the fourth period. But the Elite's firepower wasn't just enough.
Stepheson suffered from food poisoning and flew back to Los Angeles Friday morning.
Team manager Pat Aquino said Stepheson had to go home to have his condition -- which he had been experiencing since arriving in Manila -- checked with his doctor.
Blackwater is hopeful Stepheson could return to the country Thursday next week. The Elite won't play until Saturday, June 22, at the Cuneta Astrodome.
"We are hoping he will return, at the soonest, Thursday. He will miss only this game," said Aquino.
Stepheson has averaged 22.17 points, 22.0 rebounds, and 2.83 assists in six games for the Elite, who hold 5-1 win-loss record.
Without him, SMB import Charles Rhodes dominated the paint and put up game-high 32 points to go with 19 rebounds, three assists, and six blocks.
Bobby Ray Parks paced Blackwater with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists.
San Miguel 127 - Rhodes 32, Lassiter 29, Cabagnot 19, Fajardo 12, Pessumal 12, Rosser 7, Zamar 8, Ross 6, Standhardinger 2.
Blackwater 106 - Parks 23, Digregorio 18, Sumang 17, Al-Hussaini 11, Maliksi 11, Javier 6, Sena 5, Tratter 5, Cortez 4, Belo 2, Banal 2, Alolino 2, Jose 0, Desiderio 0.
Quarterscores: 29-21, 62-47, 90-74, 127-106.
Marcio Lassiter became the fifth player in PBA history with multiple games of at least nine three-pointers according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon. The others were Allan Caidic (3), Kenneth Duremdes (2), Renren Ritualo (2), and Rob Williams (2).
Von Pessumal, who was a pristine 8-of-8 from the three-point area last game, shot a perfect 4-of-4 from the same range in the second period before missing the next three attempts.
San Miguel vs. Ginebra on June 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Blackwater vs. NorthPort on June 22 at the Cuneta Astrodome.