MANILA, Philippines – Even as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed he would no longer suit up for Gilas Pilipinas, outgoing big man Marcus Douthit said he was grateful to local fans and his teammates for accepting him as one of their own, GMA News reported.
“I just want to thank everyone for accepting me to represent such a great country, I will always be thankful. PUSO (heart),” his Instagram post read.
Known fondly as “Kuya Marcus” by his fans and teammates, Douthit was instrumental in the biggest successes of Gilas Pilipinas at the international level.
His accomplishments include helping the national team secure gold medals in the last two Southeast Asian Games and the 2012 Jones Cup.
He also played a key role in the Philippines’ second-place finish at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship which earned the country a ticket to its first FIBA World Cup appearance in nearly 40 years.
A Filipino by Heart
With Douthit’s impending departure as his contract expires in September, many of his former teammates expressed nothing but praise for the man whom they described as a real Filipino by heart.
“I think Marcus was a big part of where we are now with the Gilas program,” said former Gilas team captain Jimmy Alapag. “You look at his sacrifice and his commitment and how he embraced being a Filipino in the last four or five years, really, really says a lot.”
Gary David agreed, saying the most striking thing about Douthit was his open acceptance of Filipino culture.
“He really embraces our culture so much that you wouldn’t think he was naturalized,” he said. “What a Pinoy does, he also does with no qualms. Those are the things you appreciate about him.”
As for Ranidel De Ocampo, he believes the Philippines will always remain close to Douthit’s heart.
“Even if he’s no longer with Gilas, he won’t distance himself from the Philippines. He’ll definitely stay because he’s happy and enjoys it here,” he said.