With barely enough time for rest, Gilas Pilipinas will hit the ground running immediately on Monday night, as they now set their sights on the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ second round this September.
And among those looking forward to it are San Miguel Beermen guards Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot.
The do-it-all guards have been invited by Gilas as per interim head coach Yeng Guiao’s request, to bolster the Filipino dribblers’ bid in this particular window of the Qualifiers, where they will battle Iran and Qatar.
“I’m very excited… I’m excited and humbled at the same time. Just to have opportunity to be in the pool and serve my country and to help it any way possible,” said Cabagnot, who has been called up for the Nationals for the first time.
“I don’t have any words to describe it.”
“It’s an honor,” Lassiter said, on the other hand. “I can’t explain into words how much it means to me, to be chosen for the national team. It’s definitely an honor and privilege and thankful for the opportunity.
“I just can’t wait for Monday.”
Filipino fans have long clamored for Cabagnot and Lassiter’s inclusion to the national team, knowing how much impact they have made for the Beermen – the pair have helped San Miguel garner plenty of titles, which speaks a lot of what they can do.
But between the two, it is Lassiter in particular whom fans wish to see play for Gilas – the Fil-American shooter missing out on Gilas duties is an anomaly, to say the least, knowing that he’s a pioneer of the program.
“It means a lot, the camaraderie, playing for the country, it’s a special moment being on the court,” reflected Lassiter.
“The fans, the noise, the full support… Seeing all the OFWs just making them proud, that’s what really touches my heart.
“I know it’s been a while, but at the same time I knew eventually I would be there, but I couldn’t tell you when. It was a matter of time. I’m just glad to be in this pool,” added Lassiter, who last wore the tri-colors back in 2011.
The final 12 will be unveiled next week, and nobody knows yet how the team will look. But Lassiter pointed out that there’s really no security when it comes to such things, and the only certain thing is that all of them will fight for spots.
“Well there’s no security, you’re all gonna work for it. It’s not gonna be easy. We’re gonna go there and compete,” he shared.
“Definitely an honor – being in the pool is an honor. I have to be thankful, and see what happens next.”