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Toroman has Lassiter’s back

Marcio Lassiter badly wants to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 FIBA World Cup this August. Photo courtesy of FIBA

Marcio Lassiter can’t wait to join the resumption of Gilas Pilipinas’ practices on 7 June as the many-time national team mainstay aims to impress in his quest to make the cut for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Fresh from lending a hand to Gilas’ success in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, Lassiter, now 36, would like to get another opportunity, saying “when you see the flag, hear the song (national anthem), it levels me up.”

“It gives me goosebumps,” added the 6-3 shooter who first represented the Philippines when he was 23.

Known for being a tenacious defender and an outstanding shooter, Lassiter’s inclusion in the Gilas pool revving up for the World Cup, didn’t come as a surprise to a renowned cage genius.

“Marcio is a great player who can help Gilas. He is one player capable of playing on both sides of the court. He’s a very good defender, tactically one of the greatest shooters. I said before that Marcio looks like a Euro League player. He’s got good size and very good understanding of the game with his high Basketball IQ,” said Toroman, who once coached the California-born dribbler, said in an online interview.

Lassiter was a bit shocked that he got a call to rejoin Gilas.

“To be honest, I never thought I would be back in the national team because of age. I’m older now, but I’m glad that I was given another opportunity at this stage of my career. Anytime I represent the country, I played and perform at a high level. I felt honored,” said Lassiter, who played for Cal State-Fullerton before joining the Philippine Basketball Association.

“It’s all puso, the shots I made, the defense I was playing. It’s a beautiful thing to see,” he said.

In the Phnom Penh SEA Games, Lassiter, who won nine PBA titles, made a lot of heads turn anew with his solid showing, something the San Miguel sniper is confident of replicating before an adoring home crowd in a few months.

But would he still be effective at his age given the topnotch brand of play in the World Cup?

“I feel young. I hope we can still keep doing this, but let’s see what happens,” added Lassiter.

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