The Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) is racing against time as it begins the naturalization process for American Marcus Douhtit so he can be eligible to join the Smart-Gilas Philippine national basketball team in the Asian Games in November.
The passports of two Fil-Americans, Chris Lutz and Marcio Lassiter, are also being facilitated for the Asian Games.
Smart-Gilas team manager Frankie Lim yesterday said that Lassiter has secured his certificate from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), with affirmation from the Department of Justice, allowing him to apply for a Philippine passport, while Lutz’s papers are still being completed and will soon be filed with government offices.
“We’re working on it. The SBP is working on it,” Lim said.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) received early this week the names and the papers of Smart-Gilas roster.
However, POC spokesperson Joey Romasanta, also the Chef de Mission of the Philippine delegation to the Asian Games, said the other day that the documents for many other players are still incomplete.
But Butch Antonio, the assistant project director of Smart-Gilas, said there are actually no serious concerns when it comes to the documentation of player, including the application for naturalization of the 6-foot-11 Douhtit.
However, in the event that Douhtit fails to process his papers in time for the Asian Games deadline for submission of entries, which is on August 11, Lim said that the Nationals are ready.
“That’s the worst case scenario for us,” Lim said. “But of course, with or without him, we are prepared to go to the Asian Games.”
Waylon Galvez, Manila Bulletin