THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has allayed concerns about the eligibility of Fil-foreign players Marcio Lassiter and Greg Slaughter ahead of Gilas Pilipinas' stint in next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
According to SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, Lassiter’s eligibility was already in order as early as four years ago when he was given the go-signal to play for Smart Gilas during the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.
As for Slaughter, Barrios said world governing body for basketball Fiba only needs additional requirements which the SBP believes it can easily complete to make the Ginebra slotman eligible to play for Gilas.
“Fiba is still asking for some supporting documents (on Greg) and we’re in the process of preparing them,” said Barrios, pointing out that the processing of Slaughter's papers was stopped after he was excluded from the initial pool drawn up by national coach Tab Baldwin for the 2014 Fiba Asia Championship.
“For a while hindi na namin muna inasikaso kasi he was not included by coach Tab (Baldwin) on his initial list with Gilas. We attended to other pertinent matters muna," Barrios added.
“As for (Marcio), Lassiter can play.”
The two were among the 17 players requested by the SBP and released by the PBA board for inclusion in the Gilas national pool, from where the final 12-man roster will be culled for the July wildcard qualifier to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
Barrios recalled Lassiter and another Fil-Am in Chris Lutz, weren’t allowed to play for Smart Gilas in the entire first round of the 2011 Fiba Asia after the two failed to submit documents proving they became Filipino passport holders before reaching the age of 16.
But Lassiter and Lutz eventually made it to the team after getting clearance to play from the Fiba head office in Geneva.
“Yung Fiba Asia actually ang nag-raise ng eligibility (issue) nila, but later relented to let them play when we got clearance from the Fiba head office,” said Barrios, who was then in his first year as executive director of SBP.
“And the fact na pinalaro na siya (Lassiter) before means na wala ng problema sa papers niya.”
Barrios also doesn’t see any hindrance in completing Slaughter’s papers.
“Si Greg naglaro pa yan ng college dito (in Cebu), and later with Ateneo, so wala akong nakikita na problema dyan,” said the former PBA commissioner.
Like Lassiter, Slaughter previously suited up for Smart Gilas during the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, making his case almost moot and academic.
“Naka-file na sa (SBP) office ‘yung papers ni Greg. So bubunutin lang namin 'yun and then idadagdag ‘yung kaunting documents na hinihingi ng Fiba, and I guess hindi na magiging problema ‘yun,” he said.
Although there’s no guarantee Lassiter and Slaughter will make the final 12-man of Gilas, Barrios said it’s still imperative for the SBP to take care of their eligibility papers this early.