Lassiter, Lutz get clearance to play in Fiba Asia
WUHAN, China—Smart Gilas wingmen Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz got the clearance from the International Basketball Federation or Fiba to play against Jordan Monday in the Fiba Asia Championship.
In a letter sent to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan, Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann lifted the restriction that prevented both players from seeing action in the preliminary round against United Arab Emirates, host China and Bahrain.
“After a review of all the documentation provided by your federation, I herewith authorize players Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz to play for the national team of the Philippines without being subject to the restriction provided for in Article 3-21a,” said Baumann.
According to Article 3-21a of the Fiba internal regulations, players with foreign roots should acquire their citizenship before reaching the age of 16.
Lassiter, 24, and the 26-year-old Lutz, who both grew up in the United States, are considered natural-born Filipinos under the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Baumann, however, cautioned that Fiba would review “the eligibility of these players should any new information be reported in relation to their national status.”
The SBP sought the blessings of the Fiba to clear Lassiter and Lutz after Fiba Asia officials considered them as naturalized players based on the world basketball body’s internal regulations.
Fiba allows only one naturalized player per country and Marcus Douthit has already taken that spot with Smart Gilas.
Baumann has penalized the SBP for submitting additional documents proving the Filipino citizenship of Lutz and Lassiter during the tournament, which stakes a continental berth to the London Olympics next year.
“Article 3-121 of the internal regulations clearly indicates that ‘no registration and no additional documents will be accepted later than seven days prior to the beginning of the competition’,” said Baumann.
“As a result, a financial penalty will apply for the late submission of documents required to prove the eligibility of the two players. A formal decision on the above violation will be issued in due time,” he added.