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Slaughter, Lassiter in next Gilas pool?

Greg Slaughter and Marcio Lassiter

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said the other day Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter and San Miguel Beer’s Marcio Lassiter were not included in the 24-man pool submitted to FIBA last weekend for the first Asia/Pacific qualifying window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup but opened the door for their entry in the next pool for the second series of home-and-away games.

Both Slaughter and Lassiter were not in Gilas’ 24-man pool for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon last August. Slaughter was on the Gilas squad that struck gold at the SEABA Championships and SEA Games, both in Jakarta in 2011 while Lassiter saw action at the 2010 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup, 2010 Asian Games and 2011 FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Since they’ve played for Gilas before, their eligibility shouldn’t be in question.

Reyes, however, said he’ll need to verify if they’re agreeable to play for Gilas and if they’ll be allowed by their mother PBA teams. Slaughter recently said he’ll be ready to play for the country again if called up. 

PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa clarified that starting this season, there will no longer be a distinction between cadets and veterans with regard to recruiting players for Gilas. That will clear the way for Reyes to pick any two players from each PBA team for the Gilas pool. But Reyes said he was still guided by the principle of one cadet and one veteran in assembling the new pool except for Rain Or Shine and TNT. Reyes said Rain Or Shine management allowed two veterans Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood to be recruited while TNT cleared Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and R. R. Pogoy.

The other players in the 24-man pool are Calvin Abueva and Bryan Cruz from Alaska, Japeth Aguilar and Kevin Ferrer from Ginebra, Terrence Romeo from GlobalPort, L. A. Revilla and Russel Escoto from Kia, Jio Jalalon and Aldrech Ramos from Star, Mac Belo and Allein Maliksi from Blackwater, Baser Amer and Mike Tolomia from Meralco, Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena from NLEX, JuneMar Fajardo and Von Pessumal from San Miguel Beer, Matthew Wright from Phoenix and naturalized import Andray Blatche.

Of the 24 players, only Cruz played in four international competitions this year – the Jones Cup, FIBA Asia Cup, SEA Games and FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Reyes mobilized 34 players for the four tournaments, excluding imports Mike Myers for the Jones Cup and Zeke Austin for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. The only players in the pool not in the final lineups of any of the four competitions were Alas, Maliksi, Escoto and Ramos. 

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Fil-German Christian Standhardinger played in the Jones Cup, FIBA Asia Cup and SEA Games as a naturalized import. Under FIBA rules, a dual citizen may play for one of his two countries only if he was issued a passport before turning 16. Standhardinger, 28, received his Philippine passport only this year. He’s not in the current 24-man pool to give way to Blatche who’s expected to arrive in Manila next week.

Gilas may use any 12 of the players in the 24-man pool for the first round of qualifying games against Japan in Tokyo on Nov. 24 and against Chinese-Taipei in Manila on Nov. 27. For the second round, Gilas will submit another 24-man list from which to pick 12 players to go against Australia on Feb. 22 and Japan in Manila on Feb. 25. Another 24-man roster will be turned in for the third round of qualifying games against Chinese-Taipei on June 29 and Australia in Manila on July 2.

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