Gilas not giving up FIBA World Cup hope for injured Lassiter
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas clings on the slim chance that Marcio Lassiter can still see action in the FIBA World Cup after his inclusion was shrouded with uncertainty due to a knee injury.
Lassiter is expected to be sidelined for at least 6 weeks due to a left MCL sprain and he could miss the global hoops showdown, which will kick off in multiple cities in China starting August 31.
The San Miguel gunner sustained the injury in a 90-88 quarterfinals victory over NorthPort in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Wednesday, July 24, and is anticipated to return only on the first week of September.
But national team head coach Yeng Guiao has not lost hope that Lassiter may have a faster recovery.
"We're still not giving up on Marcio," Guiao said on Friday during a press conference at the Lopez Building inside the Meralco Compound in Pasig where the Naismith Trophy was presented.
"I was informed that it would take around 6 weeks for him to get back, so we're hoping that there's a minor miracle that can happen, maybe he can get back in 3 or 4 weeks and that's going to be enough time for him to be with us."
"We're not totally giving up on him, we are already going to prepare a contingency plan just in case he doesn't make it."
Lassiter had already proven his value for the national team in the World Cup qualifiers, where he played 6 games and averaged 9.3 points, 3.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals.
His deadly sniping has been his best asset, opening up the floor for Gilas' big men to operate down low.
"We're very sad, very disappointed that this happened because Marcio is really a key member of the team. Everybody knows that we need his outside shooting, especially in the international stage," Guiao said.
If worse comes to worst, Guiao has faith that the other players in his 19-man pool can fill the void left by Lassiter.
"It's a big loss, but we'll find ways to make up for it. Matthew Wright is there, the rest of the team is there so we'll find ways for everyone to step up." – Rappler.com