Toroman gives PBL draftee Lassiter Smart Gilas spot

By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer

AN American-raised guard picked recently during the Philippine Basketball League draft has earned a slot in the 15-man Smart Gilas national squad that will compete in its first foreign tournament for the year two weeks from now.

Marcio Lassiter, a 6-foot-2 guard out of California State Fullerton, impressed Gilas coach Rajko Toroman during team practices that the Serbian named him as part of the team that will play in the 21st Dubai International Basketball Tournament from Jan. 14 to 23.

Picked up by Magnolia in the PBL draft, the 22-year-old Lassiter has been described by Toroman as an all-around package.

?Quick, strong, smart and aggressive. He?s the most athletic player in the team,? said Toroman after a recent tuneup game with the Alaska Aces.

If Lassiter, who averaged 8.9 points in his final year of college ball, agrees to sign up with Gilas, the San Francisco resident will be another key acquisition from overseas. Chris Lutz is also set to join the team in March after the US NCAA season is over.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Noli Eala said the arrival of Lassiter has temporarily frozen the negotiations with other foreign prospects with Filipino roots, like Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger.

?Both (Pringle and Standhardinger) are tied to their respective teams,? said Eala. ?Right now we?re happy with what we have especially when Chris joins us in March and if Lassiter will agree to be part of the team.?

Standhardinger played for the Nebraska Huskies, while Pringle suited up for the Passe-Partout Leuven Bears in Europe.

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