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Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz make us so good defensively–Toroman

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WUHAN, China—Now that all posts are sufficiently manned, Smart Gilas Pilipinas has regained full strength and coach Rajko Toroman has shed off that troubled look.

Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz reclaimed their spots in the national five on Monday, helping Smart Gilas carve out a momentum-building win over Jordan Monday night.

Without dependable wing men Lassiter and Lutz, the Philippine five’s Serbian mentor was forced to improvise, sliding down power forward Ranidel De Ocampo to forward and giving more minutes to team captain Chris Tiu and Mac Baracael to fill the gap in the weak spots.

“We’ll be much better with these two players (Lutz and Lassiter) because they are starters,” said Toroman. “We lost a little bit of our rhythm because they didn’t play for three games.”

Lassiter and Lutz were on the sidelines when host China whipped Smart Gilas in the first round.

“I was forced to change everything and it was not easy,” said Toroman. “There’s a system that we’ve been working on for years and if you change the system, we’re dead. That happened to us in the first three games.”

The 6-foot-2 Lassiter torched the Jordanians with four three-pointers and, together with Lutz, provided defensive stability for the Nationals in containing Jordan’s naturalized shooting guard Rasheim Wright, who missed his last nine shots.

Lassiter and Lutz were prevented from playing after Fiba Asia officials, citing rules of the international federation, considered them naturalized players.

Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann, however, overruled Fiba Asia.

Carrying a clearance from Fiba, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan insisted on the right of Lassiter and Lutz to play after organizers again barred them from playing 15 minutes before tip-off.

Seven minutes into the first quarter, Pangilinan gave Toroman the go-signal and both players finally made their debut in the Asian championship, which offers a lone continental berth to the London Olympics next year.

“Defensively, they’re the heart of our team,” said Toroman of the two Fil-Ams. “We’re so good defensively with this two guys.

“I think time is working for us. Every game we’ll get better and better because of this situation.”


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  • flipballer02

    GIVE AGUILAR some playing time.. his energy and enthusiasm can rub off his teamates n can also give a good defense against tall and fast opponents.. look what he did on the bahrain game.. look how he single handidly demolished that team..wit his amazing dunks and intimmidating shotblocking and presence..theres even an intance when a bahrainy player missed an all alone layup coz jap was trailing from behind..out of fright that he couldve been blocked..plus ranidel de ocampo plays very inconsistent and also averages about 5 turnovers a game like chris tiu which also averages bout 5 t.o’s a game..dang!



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