The Fix

SMART-Gilas players Lassiter, Lutz join PBA draft

PBA/Nuki Sabio

Interesting news about the PBA draft as a pair of high-profile guards from the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team were reported to have submitted their names for the 2011 PBA Draft to be held next month.

Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz lead the early list of applicants for the August 28 draft. Both players are expected to continue on as part of the national team for the FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China in September. The tournament will serve as qualifying for the 2012 Olympics to be held in London.

Both are highly-regarded prospects and are expected to go in the first round. Lassiter, 20, is a defensive specialist from Cal State Fullerton. Lutz, 22, played for the Marshall University Thundering Herd before coming to the country to play for the national team.

But the inclusion of both players to the list of applicants prompts the question: What will happen to the SMART-Gilas program if they do happen to qualify for the London Games?

While any PBA team that drafts either will likely do so understanding that their pick will be committed to play for flag and country until the Wuhan meet, they would be well within their rights to demand that their draftee report to the team immediately after the tournament. For SMART-Gilas, losing their players to the pros could put a hamper on whatever preparation the nationals have in store for 2012, should any be necessary.

The deadline for applicants (and their necessary requirements) for the PBA draft is on August 18.

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