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Gilas would look good if Lassiter, Almazan around

By Jerome Lagunzad

With at least 10 vital cogs set to miss a considerable amount of time after FIBA cracked the whip on them for their respective roles in an infamous brawl with Australia last month, Gilas Pilipinas could feature old guards and fresh faces for the third window of the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers in September.

San Miguel Beer superstar June Mar Fajardo and Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood, who both decided to take the high road during that emotionally-charged incident, are practically assured of their usual slots when the Nationals visit Asian rival Iran on Sept. 13 before they play host to Qatar four days later behind closed doors.

Promising Meralco guard Baser Amer, who also had the presence of mind when his fellow Filipino cagers went berserk against their Aussie counterparts, could also be in the mix for the ‘Final 12’ together with Blackwater wingman Allein Maliksi, who escaped any suspension despite being involved in the full-blown brawl.

Highly-athletic Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar and Phoenix sniper Matthew Wright won’t be allowed to play against the Iranians as they will serve their one-game ban, a development that could open up the slots for Rain or Shine center Raymond Almazan and SMB’s cold-blooded assassin Marcio Lassiter.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche, together with TNT standouts Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and Troy Rosario, will be out for at least three matches, paving the way for the possible return of SMB’s Fil-German big man Christian Standhardinger, Magnolia’s Paul Lee, Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and Alaska’s Vic Manuel.

The likes of Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, Magnolia’s Mark Barroca and SMB’s Arwind Santos could also be considered.