INCHEON, South Korea - The road is clear for Marcus Douthit's stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Asian Games.
Fears that rival nations would be putting the move to replace the ineligible Andray Blatche with Douthit proved unfounded on Friday as no one brought up the issue during the team managers' meeting on the eve of the basketball competitions in this bustling city.
Gilas team manager Aboy Castro, who attended the technical meeting as the Philippines' representative, confirmed that Douthit's place in the Gilas lineup was never questioned during the proceedings, assuring that the country will play with a full 12-man lineup in the Asiad.
"Technical meeting finished. No issues. No one brought up Marcus' eligibility. We will play with a 12 man roster including Marcus," said Castro in a message.
Red flags were raised on Thursday after several media outlets reported that the Philippines' basketball rivals, particularly Iran, China, and Japan, had planned to protest the move to put Douthit in the lineup after Blatche was declared ineligible under the three-year residency rule for naturalized players.
The reports said the countries claim Asiad rules only allow last-minute changes to the lineup in cases involving injury or medical reasons and not in situations involving ineligibilty.
However, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas head Manny V. Pangilinan pointed out that Gilas was given a written permission by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to replace Blatche with Douthit and make other changes to the lineup - a position later backed by Philippine chef de mission Richie Garcia.