Time has finally ran out for injured Gilas Pilipinas gunner Marcio Lassiter.
The 6-foot-2 Lassiter, 29, who’s been dealing with the effects of bronchopneumonia, has been left out of the Nationals’ ‘Final 14,’ barely 48 hours left before Gilas Pilipinas embark on a three-country, three-week European swing.
No less than Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio broke the development on the wee hours of Thursday through his personal Twitter account (@BAAntonio), with the San Miguel Beer marksman emerging as the odd man out.
Among those who will be joining Gilas’ training camp are Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Ray Parks, Terrence Romeo and naturalized player Andray Blatche.
The ‘Final 14’ will undergo a 10-day, high-altitude training camp in Karpenisi, Greece followed by a friendly with Turkey national team before joining a four-nation pocket tourney in Bologna, Italy where they will face the national teams of Canada, China and the host country.
Following their 81-70 win over Iran on Wednesday night, Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin disclosed Lassiter showed up at the team’s practice on Monday but was given an order by team doctors to take a needed rest at home.
“He’s been told of what diet that we ant in such a way to build his energy and strength as soon as possible,” Baldwin, 58, told mediamen during the post-match press conference.
Without Lassiter, regarded by many as one of the pure shooters in the country today, the Nationals will have to make do with combo guard Ryan Reyes and left Jeff Chan as their designated snipers, hoping they could find their range when they take on superpower France and dangerous New Zealand in the preliminary round of the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The tourney, which dangles a coveted ticket to this year’s Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games, is set from July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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