AFTER Greg Slaughter, it was Marcio Lassiter’s turn to withdraw from becoming part of Gilas Pilipinas’ training pool for both the FIBA-World Cup and Asian Games.
Barely hours after Slaughter formally announced he’s no longer joining the national team, Lassiter was quick to follow suit, citing among others, an ailing back and his desire to give the original members of Gilas the chance to represent the country in Spain and Incheon, South Korea.
“Today, I would like to inform everybody my situation with Gilas. For me, personally, it wouldn’t feel right to take away from the players who deserve it. The12 guys who played there (in Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship), they rightfully deserve it,” Lassiter told sports scribes Friday night shortly after helping San Miguel to a 94-76 rout of Meralco to kick off the Beermen’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign.
Lassiter, a former mainstay of the original Smart Gilas squad under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, said the national team of Chot Reyes has some “unfinished business” in Spain.
“I feel like they (Gilas players) have some unfinished business to handle in Spain. If I’m in their position, for someone to come in and take my spot, it would be tough, it would be hard to take away something they deserve,” added the 26-year-old Beerman, who also reiterated San Miguel Corp. management has nothing to do with his decision to withdraw from Gilas.
“SMC didn’t have any decision on this. This is personal for me.”
The 6-foot-1 Lassiter’s main reason for declining the invitation falls in the same line with Slaughter, who also announced his withdrawal from the national team during the first half of the San Miguel-Meralco game.
But the former Cal State Fullerton standout also pointed out that he is taking time to get his back heal completely after a bad fall late in the elimination round of the Philippine Cup last season.
Lassiter claimed since the bad fall, he has not yet healed completely, but has since decided to get back into action to help his team in its campaign in last year’s mid-season conference.
“(Health) is part of it. In the All-Filipino, during my second year (in the PBA), when I had a fall, when i took that fall, it did pretty much mess up my back, pretty damage it,” he said.
“At that time, I really wanted to take some time off, but when I saw the situation, I wanted to be there for my team at Petron, so at the time, I went to the second conference and played.”
Lassiter said he already notified Reyes of his decision to pull out of the Gilas team, leaving the national pool with just 15 players as it continues with its once a week training next Monday.
The others named to the pool last week by Reyes were Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga and Paul Lee along with Meralco’s Jared Dillinger.