Sharpshooter Marcio Lassiter and four other Beermen are signing new contracts with San Miguel, keeping the core of one of the most formidable teams in PBA.
Also signing new contracts with SMB are Matt Ganuelas Rosser, Yancy de Ocampo, Brian Heruela, and Keith Agovida. All five players have expiring contracts with the franchise.
Speaking in Los Angeles over the weekend for the PBA Board of Governors’ planning session, SMC board of governor Robert Non said he sees no problem in renewing the services of Lassiter and the four other Beermen. He said the team sorely needed the services of the five players with the loss of their three players in the recent trade with Kia Picanto that allowed them to grab this year’s no. 1 overall draft pick Christian Standhardinger.
“Wala namang problema re-signing them,” Non told reporters at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles where the PBA board members staying for their annual planning session. “Otherwise wala kaming players.”
Non said Lassiter is still vacationing in the U.S. and will sign his new contract once he returns to the Philippines.
At present, SMB only has eight players with live contracts. They are Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Gabby Espinas, David Semerad, Von Pessumal, and Standhardinger, who has signed up for a maximum rookie deal. However, officials said the deal with the 6’8” Fil-German rookie and Gilas standout won’t be binding until the end of his six-month contract with the HK Eastern Lions in the Asean Basketball League, which kicks off its new season on Nov. 19. The 27-year-old Standhardinger would only be available to play for SMB at around the middle of next year’s Commissioner’s Cup.
SMB coach Leo Austria earlier expressed concern over the loss of three key players who were traded to Kia–Ronald Tubid, Jay-R Reyes, and Rashawn McCarthy.
Austria said the team’s remaining players will have to step up following the loss of the three players plus the inability of Standhardinger to join them in their upcoming defense of their crown in the Philippine Cup, which is tentatively set to begin on Dec. 17.
The SMB coach said of the three players he lost, the team would greatly miss the services of Tubid and Reyes who provided quality minutes for Austria coming off the bench.
“We all know what Ronald [Tubid] provides for the team the previous seasons,” Austria said.
The SMB mentor revealed that the team roster is still short of two players and that he’s giving veteran free agent Billy Mamaril a tryout. Aside from Mamaril, two rookies—Jerome Ortega and Louie Vigil—are seeking to join the roster.
Austria, however, expressed confidence in the strength of his team’s core. Four-time MVP Fajardo, former MVP Santos, and two other Mythical Team members Ross and Cabagnot plus Lassiter form the nucleus of the team.
“Malakas yung starting five namin, pero siyempre kailangan din naman namin palakasin yung second and third units namin that will provide help off the bench,” Austria said.