INCHEON, South Korea -- Gilas Pilipinas is banking on Marcus Douthit’s familiarity with the team’s system as the original naturalized player returns to the roster of coach Chot Reyes for the 17th Asian Games following a long layoff.
Team manager Aboy Castro admitted it may take some more time for Douthit to get back in game shape as he has not suited up for Gilas since the Fiba-Asia Cup last July.
“Being in shape is different from being in game shape,” stressed Castro.
After campaigning in the Fiba World Cup, the national team had plans to have Andray Blatche play for Gilas in the Asiad, although that all changed when the former Brooklyn Net and now with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association was declared ineligible by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) due to the three-year residency rule applied on all naturalized players.
With Blatche out, Douthit got back his old familiar role after being naturalized in 2011 in time for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Wuhan, China.
Castro said Douthit has been joining the team’s practices even during the Fiba World Cup, although training is definitely way different from being in game shape.
“He had some extra conditioning to get him in game shape. But because we haven’t played any game in the last two weeks, we don’t know how much shape he will be in.”
Castro is confident the 6-foot-10 Douthit will still make a big impact for Gilas Pilipinas even with time constraints due to his familiarity with the dribble-drive offense adopted by coach Chot Reyes for the team.
“Alam naman niya ang sistema. It’s not something that we changed tactically in the past two years. Kilala naman niya ang mga players. It is more of getting his timing back in playing games,” said Castro.
“But of course, he will do his best,” he added.