ANOTHER shot at donning the Philippine men’s basketball jersey is certainly a most welcome thing for Marcio Lassiter.
The Fil-Am gunner of San Miguel Beer said he’s more than available to play again for Gilas Pilipinas under coach Chot Reyes if the team finds the need to have at least a shooting wingman at its disposal.
Lassiter, 35, proved he still got the deadly touch from the outside after leading the Beermen in three-point field goal shooting during the PBA Philippine Cup, which the franchise won.
The San Francisco, Calfornia native ranked No. 9 in the three-point department by averaging 39 percent for the entire conference, but led San Miguel from beyond the arc in the best-of-seven finals against TNT with a 38.4% clip.
“I know what I can bring to the table. I might lack the height, but you know, I know I can shoot,” Lassiter said. “So that’s the one thing I know I can do, and if the coaches need (a shooter), I’m there.
“Every time the country needs me, I’m always there.”
While the national team that competed in the August window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier had the height and athleticism, the one knack against it was the absence of a lights-out shooter.
And it so happened Lassiter’s name has been prominently mentioned by many as possible addition to the Gilas training pool to provide that needed outside threat.
“It’s definitely an honor even to be mentioned,” he said. “I’m always thankful and grateful for the opportunity if I’m given.”
If ever he’s called again, Lassiter would be coming full circle for the national team.
The Cal State Fullerton product was part of the original Gilas Pilipinas team under coach Rajko Toroman formed back in 2009 and played during the 2010 Asian Games and the 2011 FIBA Asia Men’s Championship that served as qualifier to the 2012 London Olympics.
Lassiter had a chance to become part of the national team under coach Tab Baldwin for the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament, but was the last man to be cut after going down with bronchitis.
He was also called up for the 2019 Fiba World Cup campaign but never got to play for the Yeng Guiao-coached Gilas team in Foshan, China due to a lingering injury.
So far, Lassiter has been healthy this season and helped San Miguel win back the all-Filipino championship, his ninth overall with San Miguel.
And if he’s eyeing an encore with Gilas, Lassiter, who averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 33 minutes of average minutes during the finals, said it’s imperative for him to take care of his body.
“I’m always trying my best to keep in shape, keep in condtion,” said the father of a newly-born baby girl. “Every year it gets tougher and tougher, but I try my best to maintain what I got and keep pushing myself to play at a high level. I just got to stay healthy, that’s the biggest thing. I know I got a lot of mileague, but that’s OK.”
Lassiter knows making it back to the national team is like passing through the eye of the needle, what with all the younger and great talent the training pool has.
But a healthy Lassiter knows he carries that mentality which has been lacking in Gilas nowadays.
“Shooters got to shoot,” Lassiter said.