MANILA, Philippines — Smart-Gilas Pilipinas Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman said on Thursday that even without Marcus Douthit, the national team still remains a competitive and formidable unit in the Asian Games next month in Guangzho, China.
“We’re still good to win a medal,” Toroman said.
“Of course, it’s totally different if Marcus can play. It would be much easier to have a good result if we can have Marcus, who can help us at the post, who is quick and can match up well against the other tall players of other countries,” he added.
The 6-foot-10 Douthit was a denied a chance to play for the RP team after the Senate, citing a technicality, did not pass a bill giving the American player Filipino citizenship.
Senate Bill No. 2559 was supposed to be taken up during Thursday’s plenary session by was removed from the agenda because it lacked the three-day notice required of all bills going from second to third reading.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) tried to have Malacanang waive the three-day notice so that the Senate can act on the bill, but according to SBP executive director Noli Eala, “there was no reply from Malacañang.”
The 30-year-old Douthit can only apply for a Philippine passport if he got his naturalization papers.
The Senate, currrently in recess, can pass the bill when it resumes session on Nov. 8, and have President Aquino sign it into law.
But by that time, it will be too late for him to get accreditation from Asian Games organizers.
“Without Marcus, our first option now (at center spot) is Asi Taulava. We’ll also have Greg Slaughter coming off the bench. We’re still much competitive,” Toroman said.
The former mentor of Iran national team is also hoping that Fil-Am guard Marcio Lassiter, who returned recently from the United States to have his injured knee treated, will continue to recover and be in top form in time for the Asian Games
Waylon Galvez, Manila Bulletin