Barangay Ginebra rookie Greg Slaughter and San Miguel Beermen's Marcio Lassiter. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com (Composite)
MANILA (UPDATE) – Barangay Ginebra rookie Greg Slaughter and San Miguel Beermen's Marcio Lassiter have declined the offer to join Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball this year.
Slaughter announced his withdrawal from the Gilas pool on Friday. Lassiter followed suit after the San Miguel Beer-Meralco game.
“I’m just here to say that I’m not joining Gilas. I’m very honored to be selected for that, but for the past four years of experience there, I know the feeling of new people coming in on something you have started, and having that pressure of not knowing the roster spots,” said Slaughter in the official PBA website.
Both Slaughter and Lassiter believe the Philippines should field the same national team that qualified in the FIBA Worlds after finishing second in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.
“I think that the thing they started back in August, they won that and I think that those guys should be the ones to go on and represent the country in Spain,” said the 6’11” Filipino-American.
That Gilas squad was composed of Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jeffrei Chan, Jayson Castro, Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Larry Fonacier, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris and naturalized citizen Marcus Douthit.
“I have consulted a lot of people, but I just felt that the people who started that, they worked so hard. I realized that the World Championships, that might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but hopefully in the future, we can make it again,” he explained.
Slaughter said he has already talked to national team coach Chot Reyes about his decision.
“Coach Chot is a very understanding person and he respected my decision,” he said. “Originally, I had thought that these 12 will be the ones going to Spain. I didn’t think that there will be any more additions.”
“If I get called in any future national team, I’ll be more than willing to play for it,” he added.
Lassiter said he feels he won't be 100 percent for the FIBA world due to his back injury.
"Part of it is because of my health. If I am not 100 percent, I wouldn't want to jeopardize Gilas," he said.
Reyes earlier announced that he had included Slaughter, Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee and Beau Belga, San Miguel Beer’s Marcio Lassiter and Meralco's Jared Dillinger in the Gilas training pool.
The pool has started once-a-week practices for the FIBA World Cup.
The FIBA World will take place in Spain from August 30 to September 14.