Lassiter takes pride in playing facilitator for Gilas after hot start

Marcio Lassiter provides a hand-off to Junemar Fajardo for the layup. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--In what could have been an early glimpse of a Gilas Pilipinas domination against Iran on Monday night, Marcio Lassiter waxed hot in the first quarter, draining all his three shots in the said period, all from three-point land, to help Gilas build a 20-14 lead late in the first quarter.

But when Iran began to "put more bodies on me" as Lassiter quoted to Dugout Philippines, he made up for it by sharing the wealth to his teammates, leading to a game-high seven assists.

"I made plays for my other teammates to get a great shot, and I came up with seven assists. I think I made the right decision in providing the ball to the guys when they were open," he further said. "I was playing the best of my ability."

However, the San Miguel gunner may have been needed more in scoring down the stretch as Gilas eventually lost an eight-point fourth quarter cushion and fell to Iran at home.

"We went all out tonight, but we just didn't get the win," rued Lassiter, who was limited to only three points in the final 30 minutes before fouling out. "We just couldn't get the breaks of the game, so it's a tough loss."

With the loss plus Japan's home win against Kazakhstan earlier Monday, Gilas fell to fourth place in Group F of the second round of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, putting the team in danger of missing the ride to China for the FIBA World Cup proper.

"We just lost two home games. It's definitely gonna be tough," continued Lassiter, whose team now needs to sweep the sixth window in February, road games at Qatar and Kazakhstan, and hope for Japan to falter at Iran and Qatar to steal an outright qualification.

Still, he is thankful to be part of what many touted as the "best Gilas team ever formed."

I felt like Coach Yeng [Guiao] did a tremendous job on bringing us all together. Give credit to Coach Yeng. He put us all in the system that we can thrive in," Lassiter concluded.

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