It was a great start for the Philippine team in the 26th FIBA Asia Championship at Wuhan Sports Centre, winning 95-52 over United Arab Emirates. Mac Barracael lead the team in scoring with 15 points. Although it was a big win for the team, what worried me is not having Lutz and Lassiter in the lineup.
Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz were ruled ineligible to play barely an hour before the tip-off of their game against the United Arab Emirates.
Talk and Text coach Chot Reyes broke the news on his Twitter account (@coachot)
"FIBA Commisioner just told me now that Lutz and Lassiter are ineligible. Only an advise from FIBA in Switzerland can make them play now," Reyes said.
Former Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Noli Eala said in his twitter account (@NoliEala) that "FIBA is invoking the wrong rule, Marcio (Lassiter) and Chris (Lutz) did not acquire citizenship by naturalization. They are natural born Filipinos by virtue of a Filipino parent."
Eala, who is also part of FIBA legal committee , has already advised the SBP on what to do next to salvage Lutz and Lassiter stint in FIBA-Asia.
Their eligibility was questioned by FIBA-Asia Deputy Secretary Hagop Khajirian, who is a Lebanese.
This is sad a bad news for our team, and if i not mistaken this guy Hagop has been in our country during a certain basketball event. Are they that threatened with our team? Lassiter anf Lutz have been playing for the team on several FIBA sanctioned games already and now they filed a petition for the two? this is plain BS. I just hope the two can get cleared and play the game against China.