Marcus Douthit, the former Los Angeles Lakers draftee, is Smart-Gilas’ top prospect for naturalization.
The 6-foot-10, 30-year-old alumnus of Providence Colege was a steady presence for the national team aspirants’ title campaign in the four-day Philippine Invitational Challenge.
Douthit's play has impressed coach Rajko Toroman since arriving in the country a few weeks ago and this is the reason why he decided to keep his services -- and made him the top choice for naturalization.
"We decided to keep him. He will stay," Toroman said. “His papers for naturalization will be processed probably in the coming days."
Toroman’s decision was supported by Lim, who took overt the team managerial job few months ago.
"Yes, it's Douthit," said. "We're very happy to have him as part of the RP team."
Douthit is the fourth prospect of the squad after three failed bids.
The national developmental team first tapped CJ Giles, then brought in Jamal Sampson. Both imports had different issues with Smart-Gilas and were booted out of the lineup.
The third reinforcement was Serbian Milan Vucicevic, a player with great working ethics but doesn’t have enough skills to earn the nod of Toroman.
Douthit, on the other hand, had shown a lot of promise. He finished with 26 points and nine rebounds in a 74-64 victory over Dongguan New Century last Thursday.
Against Jordan last Friday, Douthit registered 18 points and six rebounds, but was severely bothered by his injury he suffered after a bad fall in the first half. The Nationals lost, 75-83.
Toroman opted to sit him out during the team's win over Barangay Ginebra to preserve the import for the national developmental team’s finals match against the Jordanians.
Douthit finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in that title-clinching win.
He will join the Smart-Gilas five in the 32nd William Jones Cup in Taipei next month and might make it to the lineup in the Asian Games if his papers will be processed in time, according to Toroman.
Rey Joble, GMA News