LUCENA, Philippines – San Miguel guard Marcio Lassiter vehemently denied taunting Ginebra's Sol Mercado in the third quarter of Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, which led to his ejection from the contest at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.
Lassiter sparked San Miguel's comeback from a 26-point deficit, firing 16 points in the third quarter, including four three-pointers.
Following his last triple – which he hit over Mercado – Lassiter celebrated the shot right in front of the Ginebra defender, and was immediately hit with a technical for taunting. The SMB guard had already been called for a flagrant foul in the second quarter, and his infraction resulted in his ejection.
"I'm not here to criticize the refs," Lassiter said after San Miguel lost in overtime, 124-118. "That's their call, and I have to respect it."
"But you guys see me, what I do. Clearly, I did not taunt," he stressed.
Lassiter said he was glad that the fans in Lucena got to see a great game, and indeed it was an instant classic as San Miguel and Ginebra went back-and-forth in the second half, with Joe Devance sending the game into overtime via a buzzer beater.
"I'm kind of sad that I wasn't out there on the court," said Lassiter, who watched the fourth quarter and the overtime period from the dugout. "I wanted to support my teammates and be there for my teammates, and I wasn't able to do that."
Despite the loss, however, Lassiter was satisfied with the fighting spirit shown by the Beermen, as they rallied all the way back from a 26-point second-quarter deficit. They even took the lead late, 109-108, off a Gabby Espinas three-pointer, but just could not hold on.
"It shows how hungry we are," said Lassiter. "We never gave up."
"Hopefully, in Game 3, I can be there for the whole game," he also said.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.