AS long as he's healthy, Marcio Lassiter is ready to suit up and play once again for Gilas Pilipinas.
The door was opened for Lassiter to have another crack at a stint with the national team following the recent decision of the PBA board to relax its 'one player per team' policy on call-ups for the Gilas pool.
The Fil-Am gunner assured his availability, granted of course, that he’s in the pink of health.
“I just try to keep myself stay healthy. That’s the most important thing, I wanna be healthy,” said the 30-year-old San Miguel sniper.
Lassiter, considered one of the best outside shooters in the pro league today, was a shoo-in for the final roster of Tab Baldwin’s Gilas team to the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.
Unfortunately, the Cal State Fullerton alum fell ill with broncopneumonia when the team was about to embark in its European training camp, prompting the coaching staff to drop him from the pool.
The 'one player per team' policy later adopted by the league prevented the San Francisco, California native from returning to the national team as San Miguel is already represented in the Gilas pool by big man June Mar Fajardo.
Now, Lassiter is just waiting for a call-up from coach Chot Reyes.
“I hope so. We’ll see,” he said. “Now it’s just day-by-day, take it game-by-game. When it comes, it comes.”
Lassiter was part of the original Smart Gilas team formed in 2008 under Rajko Toroman and played during the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, where the country made the semifinals but lost to South Korea in the battle for the bronze medal.
Reyes disclosed the Gilas coaching staff has Lassiter on its radar after the league scrapped its old rule limiting the number of players teams can lend to the national pool.
But PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said that while the board had approved the new policy, the ultimate decision to play for Gilas still depends on the player.
“Kailangan lang pumayag 'yung player na maglaro siya pero yung teams okay na,” said Marcial shortly after a recent PBA board meeting. “Kapag pumayag yung player, tuluy-tuloy na yun.”