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REVERSAL OF ROLES

Lassiter ends scoring slump, Pogoy struggles.

The start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals saw a role-reversal between the one of the league’s premier shooters struggling to find his groove and a wide-eyed rookie showing nerves of steel.

A week later, the best-of-7 series between the San Miguel Beermen and TNT KaTropa has shifted back to its norm.

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Marcio Lassiter of the Beermen appeared to have recovered from an early slump while the KaTropa’s Pogoy has slowly succumbed to pressure with a pair of scoreless games and one move that upset a fellow Far Eastern University great.

San Miguel, in a good position to capture the title of the midseason conference, took a 2-1 lead Sunday with Lassiter playing a vital role.

He had 16 points and seven assists in 41 minutes after going 5-of-19 from the field in the first two games marred by 11 misses from three-point country.

It didn’t take long for the former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay to end his struggles. He hit his first three-pointer about 30 seconds into Game 3 to start his best game of the championship series.

Lassiter also set up passes for open teammates, some resulting in baskets from reigning three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo. Teammate Chris Ross, who earlier praised Lassiter for his other contributions despite his offensive woes, may have been right after all.

“TNT loves to pressure me from the perimeter. I was just looking for ways for me to attack,” Lassiter said after Sunday’s 109-97 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “They want me out of the offense so, it gives opportunities for other players. I’m just finding ways to attack, be more aggressive and it helped me.”

The Beermen were seeking a commanding 3-1 lead in Game 4 being played at presstime at the Big Dome, something that the KaTropa hope to avoid.

TNT would like to see Pogoy return to the form that made him one of this season’s top rookies. The small forward drew high praises in the KaTropa’s 104-102 victory in Game 1 after a career-high 27 points, including 13 in the payoff period.

But Pogoy has since been missing in action. He went a combined 0-of-13 from the field in the next two games, his frustration apparent in Friday’s 102-88 Game 2 defeat when he hit Arwind Santos in the groin during the third quarter.

He was later ejected for a Flagrant Foul 2 and fined R30,000 by the league. Pogoy later apologized to Santos.

Since his 27-point eruption, Pogoy became a marked man, as seen with the way the Beermen have defended him.

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