Marcio Lassiter not closing door on Gilas return

Though Gilas Pilipinas already named its “final 14” late Wednesday night, there remains a small chance for San Miguel Beer’s sharpshooting guard Marcio Lassiter to join the national squad.

Lassiter’s Philippine agent Marvin Espiritu admitted that communication lines remain open between the San Miguel gunner and Gilas team officials led by coach Tab Baldwin and Butch Antonio.

“Wala pa namang official statement si Marcio after mailabas yung final 14. We know so far, ang status natin, may 14 na sila (Gilas), pero may mga hinihintay lang akong developments with Gilas, kasi naguusap pa rin kami kung ano ang possible scenarios if ever with Butch,” Espiritu told FOX Sports on Thursday.

Hours after Gilas wrapped up its 2-game friendlies with an 81-70 win over Iran, Antonio, who concurrently serves as the Philippine men’s basketball team’s manager, posted the 14-man lineup at his official Twitter account @BAAntonio.

The 14 players who will fly to Europe for the training camp and play a series of friendly matches includes Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Troy Rosario, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Ray Parks, Terrence Romeo, Ryan Reyes and naturalized player Andray Blatche.

Espiritu, who co-founded the Espiritu-Manotoc Basketball Management (EMBM), which handles basketball players’ careers, mentioned that Lassiter is still on the “recovery stage” after going down with broncho-pneumonia nearly 2 weeks ago.

While the 6-foot-2 Lassiter managed to join Gilas’ practice sessions on May 18 and 19, the sweet-shooting SMB guard began missing training.

“Bronco-pneumonia yun tumama sa kanya. Nung sumama siya sa practice, meron na siyang symptoms nun, pero akala niya normal na ubo. Tapos bumigay na lang ang kawatan niya,” explained Espiritu.

The soft-spoken Filipino player agent added that in a 2-week span, the former member of the Smart-Gilas program already lost 10 pounds.

“Hindi pa siya 100 percent kasi he lost 10 pounds so yung strength niya wala pa talaga. And wala pa siyang clearance sa doctor niya,” said Espiritu as Lassiter continues to get medical advice from a specialist at St. Luke’s Global City in Taguig. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava