MANILA, Philippines?Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman never doubts the probability of a medal finish in the Asian Games even without Marcus Douthit.
?It could be totally different if Marcus is on the team. The results could be better,? said Toroman.
The Serbian mentor of the RP men's basketball team explained the 6-foot-10 Douthit would be perfect for Smart Gilas at the post.
The former LA Lakers draftee is quick for his size and could bang it up with other frontline players from other countries, according to Toroman
?It's going to be tough without him (Douthit). But I still believe that we have a good team capable of winning a medal,? said Toroman.
Despite the uncertainty of including Douthit in the Asiad lineup, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the local governing body in the sport, lauded Congress for its overwhelming support to Philippine basketball by facilitating the swift naturalization of Douthit.
?The SBP is aware and grateful for the Herculean efforts of both houses of Congress to help boost the RP basketball campaign in the Asiad,? said SBP executive director Noli Eala.
?We never expected that the naturalization of Douthit would come so close to being approved in such a short period of time,? added Eala.
The Senate couldn't take up Douthit's application for naturalization third reading Wednesday due to the lack of a three-day notice period.
Malacañang didn't act on a request to certify the same as urgent, a requirement for the Senate to dispense with the three-day rule. The Senate will have a recess and resume sessions on November 8, less than a week left before the Guangzhou Asiad on November 12-27.
Eala said the SBP was thankful for the support of Antipolo Representative Ronnie Puno and Senator Miguel Zubiri who both spearheaded the measure.
?It proves that we have true sports people in Congress who share with all of us the desire to bring pride and glory back to our country,? said Eala.
?We are confident that with aid from Congress, Douthit will soon be able to proudly don the national uniform as a citizen and help our cause,? he added.
Sans Douthit, Toroman said Asi Taulava, one of three PBA players loaned to Smart Gilas, would start at center while seven-footer Greg Slaughter would come off the bench.
Toroman is also hoping that Filipino-foreign guard Marcio Lassiter will recover in time for the Asiad after suffering an injured knee.