and Musong R. Castillo in Bangkok
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has issued a final deadline for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to submit its final 12-man roster for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
RP chef de mission Joey Romasanta said the SBP must submit by 5 p.m. Wednesday its 12-man roster for the Asiad.
The SBP said it will comply with the POC deadline, although it is still awaiting a couple of developments that could alter the current Smart Gilas roster.
In Bangkok, Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman told reporters via an overseas call that the national team may no longer look for a replacement for James Yap, who begged off from reinforcing the squad due to personal reasons, depending on the condition of Marcio Lassiter.
“We’re just looking what will happen with Marcio,” Toroman told reporters covering the PBA Annual board meeting in the Thai capital. “We’ll know if Marcio is OK in the next few days and then we’ll decide.”
Also, the SBP is awaiting the result of the naturalization bill filed by Antipolo Rep. Roberto Puno for American Marcus Douthit, who is being eyed to reinforce Smart Gilas, and Chinese Zheng Xiaojing, who will beef up the women’s squad.
The naturalization took a positive turn when the House committee on justice chaired by Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas Jr. voted 14-5 in favor of allowing the 6-foot-10 Douthit and Zheng to suit up for the men’s and women’s teams.
“This is not an ordinary request and we’re asking the congressmen to help us. We will try to get it for the Asian Games but there’s no telling when,” said Puno.
Moying Martelino said the POC needs to finalize the RP delegation to meet the Sept. 30 deadline set by the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee.
The SBP submitted a provisional 18-man lineup, but this was “only for accreditation purposes,” said Martelino yesterday during the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
“We will hold a meeting tomorrow (today) to finalize the lineup,” said Smart Gilas manager Frankie Lim.
The national team had earlier gotten the approval of the PBA board to “borrow” Powerade’s Asi Taulava and Kelly Williams of Talk ‘N Text for the Asiad.
If Lassiter doesn’t recover in time, Smart Gilas, according to an Inquirer source, is eyeing Rain or Shine’s Solomon Mercado.