The Lassiter courtship continues

April 10, 2012 by  

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Don’t think for one second that the Petron Blaze Boosters are still the strong and talent-heavy roster that they were three seasons ago.

Fact is, what they have right now is a shadow of what they had at the end of the 2008-09 PBA season.

Ato Agustin was extremely lucky to salvage the 2011 PBA Governor’s Cup that spoiled Talk N Text’s grand slam bid. Injuries took its toll on their stars and their talent pool was so limited that they had to play Barako Bull loans Jojo Duncil and Paolo Hubalde for major minutes.

The current Petron lineup has the core of Alex Cabagnot, Denok Miranda, Chris Lutz, and Joseph Yeo in the shooting and slasher spots with Arwind Santos, Danny Ildefonso, and Rob Reyes in the center rotation.

What’s bad for the Blaze Boosters is that Chris Lutz joined Dondon Hontiveros and Jay Washington on the injured list. Rabeh Al-Hussaini was recently activated but has yet to produce his outstanding rookie numbers.

This is why Petron is seriously pursuing Marcio Lassiter.

Stubborn as they may, Petron is trying extremely hard to get The California Swagger. At first they tried to weasel their way by offering Nonoy Baclao and Rey Guevarra at the start of the Commissioner’s Cup. Despite placing first and third respectively in the 2010 PBA Draft, they are nothing compared to Lassiter’s contributions. But to Petron’s credit, before Baclao entered San Miguel, he was an up and coming star – logging heavy minutes for then Yeng Guiao-led Air21 Express. But because of the trade, Baclao’s stock greatly diminished. For Guevarra’s sake, people thought he was picked too high in the draft but he had a bunch of games where he excelled. Still, there was no reason for Powerade to give in Petron’s request.

And if they can’t fend for their selves, Petron had Commissioner Chito Salud acting as roadblock.

When the trade was scrapped, Petron began to use Guevarra prominently and near the end of their run, the Commish Cup didn’t end without a Baclao sighting. Still, Petron missed the playoffs – no thanks to their failure to close games and that ball-throwing incident that gained Mick Pennisi notoriety.

With both Powerade and Petron eliminated, the call for Lassiter was restarted. This time, Petron is offering Rabeh – the rightful top pick of the 2010 PBA Draft – alongside Guevarra for Lassiter.

Here’s an idea for Powerade – if Petron is that bent to get Marcio Lassiter, then they need to control the trade. I really don’t get why Powerade couldn’t just tell Petron to fuck off. But then again, Powerade will soon be in the control of SMC so maybe there will be an inevitable parting with Lassiter.

If it was me I will try to build a team rather than a superstar. Gary David is too great of a star these days that if they need to part with Lassiter, the last thing they need is Jay Washington. J-Wash worked for Petron because he gets his stats quietly while Arwind Santos wants to command attention. If he gets traded to Powerade, then expect the enemies to mind whatever he tries to pull.

If I am Powerade, I’ll demand Lassiter for three people – Al-Hussaini, Baclao, and Guevarra. Like I said before when these two were still playing for the Air21 Express, Rabeh and Baclao looked like the rookie versions of Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codinera back when they were still playing for Purefoods. It really pissed me off when they got traded to Petron and maybe they can do their careers a favor and blossom in a team that desperately lack size. Al-Hussaini once he regain his “beastly” ways will see to it that this is the last time he’ll be part of a lopsided trade where is a part of the weak side. As for Guevarra, Bo Perasol has the luxury to make him battle with Sean Anthony for Lassiter’s vacated starting SF spot. If Anthony wins, then he can slide and be that high octane performer off the bench that Josh Vanlandingham has struggled to be consistent in. Plus, Will Antonio might re-focus his energy to resume his assistant coach duties.

Plus I can see JV Casio throwing a bunch of passes on the inside where Al-Hussaini’s inside offense will be put to the test.

It’s easy to release Lassiter to build up the team’s ten-man rotation.

They most also take in consideration the health of the players involved though.

As for Lassiter, the switch will be frustrating at first but he’ll likely flourish in the system. The Blazers will find a serious deflation in their frontline so this could mean we can see Washington, Santos, or Ildefonso sliding to the center spot with Lassiter, Lutz, Yeo, and Hontiveros hovering in the slasher roles. If the injury bug hits the Blazers, then he can be a great combo forward since he can score caroms despite his opponent’s size.

In all, I can see both parties winning if this is the case. All players involved are young and can develop into superstars with proper exposure.

If it isn’t the case though, then Powerade just destroyed a vital cog in their title-hungry core. It took them almost a decade to regain this status and they’ll destroy it because they can’t stand up at a bully.

Game over.

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