Marcio Lassiter withdraws from Gilas pool

MANILA, Philippines - Friday night brought not one but two losses to Gilas Pilipinas. 

Following the announcement of Greg Slaughter to back out from the Spain-bound Gilas Pilipinas pool, former Smart Gilas member Marcio Lassiter also announced he will not be making another tour of duty for the nationals this time around.  

The 26-year old San Miguel Beermen guard cited he wants to give way to last year's FIBA Asia team--the same reason Slaughter opted to decline the Gilas offer as well.  

"For me, personally, it wouldn't feel right for me to take away from the players who deserved it, the 12 guys who actually played there. They rightfully deserve it," Lassiter explained. 

"I feel like they have some unfinished business to handle in Spain and if I was in the same position as them, for someone to come in and try to take my spot, it'll be hard to give up something I deserve. In that aspect, that's the reason I'm withdrawing my name from the pool."

Like Slaughter, Lassiter made the announcement during a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game day for the Commissioner's Cup on Friday, March 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

He clarified that his decision was solely personal and there was no outside interference. 

"This wasn't a management decision, this is totally personal for me. San Miguel and SMC did not have any decision over this."

He added: "For me, being part of Gilas 1, I experienced it. I know what it takes. It's just the timing for it just wasn't there and if ever it comes down the road, I would always be glad to give my services."

The 6-foot-2 Lassiter donned the national colors from 2010 to 2011, participating in various international tournaments including the FIBA Asia Stanković Cup, the William Jones Cup, the Asian Games and the Southeast Asia Basketball Championship.  

He also added that health reasons also contributed to his decision to withdraw. He said it stemmed from the injury he sustained in the Philippine Cup in 2012. 

"If I'm not a hundred percent I wouldn't want to jeopardize the Gilas team or put the team down. That is also an issue for me," Lassiter explained.

Lassiter said he also informed Gilas head coach Chot Reyes about his decisions. 

"We had a sit down to talk about this. We spoke together to make sure we're on the same page and just to make sure he understood what was going on."

The 7-foot bigman Slaughter also earlier said he was backing out of Gilas to make way for the 12 members of the Gilas squad who made a historic run in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, where they finished with a silver medal and a ticket to the FIBA World Cup this August. 

Lassiter noted he and Slaughter spoke about their decisions as well but stressed his decision was strictly based on his own personal reasons. 

Both Slaughter and Lassiter were named to the Gilas pool by Reyes as additions to the original 12. With the two pulling out, Gilas is now reduced to a 15-man pool. 

Reyes took to Twitter to say that he respects both of their decisions.  

We're 15-strong. We've always faced adversity. We've always found a way, or we will die trying #LabanPilipinasPuso — Chot Reyes (@coachot) March 7, 2014

It is not certain whether or not Reyes will replace the two. But he did post another tweet Friday night saying, "We're 15-strong. We've always faced adversity. We've always found a way, or we will die trying."

I respect their decision " @JinnoRufino : Greg & Marcio to decline @smartgilasph invite?! Wonder what @coachot has to say about this. :(” — Chot Reyes (@coachot) March 7, 2014

- Rappler.com