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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

A lot has changed since Marcio Lassiter last suited up for Gilas

A lot has changed since the last time Marcio Lassiter donned the Philippines’ colors.

From being the fourth overall pick of the now-defunct Powerade Tigers in the 2011 PBA Draft, the six-foot-three swingman from California State-Fullerton has emerged as one of the league’s finest marksmen.

Thanks to his impeccable shooting from almost anywhere on the hardwood, Lassiter now has five All-Star appearances and, most importantly, six championships with storied franchise San Miguel Beermen.

But now, seven years since he last wore a Pilipinas jersey, Lassiter has found himself back in Gilas Pilipinas.

Lassiter – he himself a pioneer of the Gilas program – answered to the call of duty on Monday night, as he joined the Nationals’ preparations for the fourth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this September.

“First thing that changed is I added three more kids, had a little bit more hair. I started with a long hair but I cut it, so I got a long hair now going,” said the now-31-year-old with a wide grin.

“So that’s what changed, aside from being older.”

Lassiter has returned to a program that is totally different from the one he played for years ago. Back then, Gilas had Serbian Rajko Toroman has its head coach, but now the national team has Yeng Guiao calling the shots.

It’s new system, obviously, but Lassiter doesn’t feel like he will be left behind as he has San Miguel Beermen teammate Alex Cabagnot with him in the national team – Cabagnot has played for Guiao with Burger King almost a decade ago.

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“It helps to have Alex,” said Lassiter, who has known Cabagnot since their Petron Blaze Boosters days. “He’s kinda familiar face I guess. But it’s a new system and I’m pretty sure we can adapt.

“It’s the first day so we’ll keep on learning.”

Monday night definitely felt like a homecoming for Lassiter, as he is among the many figures that helped steer the Gilas program to where it is now. So for him, going back to the national team is a “tremendous honor.”

“I just think it’s great to be back,” shared Lassiter, who traces his roots to Ilocos Sur. “The opportunity for me to be here is always a tremendous honor. It feels great, being here, wearing the uniform, seeing the guys again.

“I know it’s a new style, new players, but at the end of the day, we’re still wearing jerseys in front of our names, that’s the most important thing,” he added.

“I’m just looking for the opportunity to rise and see who’s on the team.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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