WITH Smart Gilas 2.0 bunched in a tough group in the coming FIBA Asia Cup (formerly Stankovic Cup), Marcio Lassiter said Chot Reyes' national team should show the same hunger to be able to carry the momentun of their epic Jones Cup championship run into the Tokyo tournament.
Lassiter, a Gilas original who saw action for the Rajko Toroman-coached team that finished in fourth place in the 2010 Fiba Asia Cup held in Beirut, Lebanon, said Reyes' nationals face tough odds as they slug it out against the some of the strongest national teams in Asia.
“Of course, winning in Stankovic Cup won’t be easy. Teams have bigger and taller players. We really had to play our guts out out there," Lassiter told Spin.ph.
"We are small compared to other countries, but it’s important that our team believes in Coach Reyes’ system. I know they are preparing now, but they need to continue to show the same mentality of winning and the same hunger.”
The San Francisco-born Lassiter said Smart Gilas 2.0 should also continue to polish their outside shooting since it will go into the tournament as one of the shortest teams.
Gary David, Jeff Chan, Fonacier and Jones Cup MVP LA Tenorio are expected to provide scoring from the outside just like they did in the Jones Cup, where the Philippines finished with a 7-1 win-loss record en route to the championship in the annual tournament held in Taipei.
The sweet-shooting Lassiter, who now plays for Petron, said he hopes to be of service to the national team in the future. He believes his two-year experience in international play will be an asset to the national team’s continued quest for global prominence.
Smart Gilas 2.0 is in the same bracket as China, Lebanon, Uzbekistan and Macau in Group A in Tokyo with Qatar bracketed in Group B along with Iran, Taiwan, India and host Japan.