Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche looks set to play for the Philippines at this summer’s FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain.
While Blatche’s Philippino citizenship is not 100 percent confirmed yet, a Senate has approved a bill to grant him nationality. All that remains is for Filipino Senator Sonny Angara, the man who sponsored the bill, to hand the documentation to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III – and once he signs it – Blatche’s citizenship will be official.
It’s big news for the inexperienced Philippine side as they prepare for their first world championship since 1978, when they hosted the event. Blatche brings eight years of NBA experience to the table as they get ready to face off with Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Puerto Rico and Senegal in Group B.
“Andray Blatche has openly expressed his desire to play for the Philippines,” Angara told the Philippine Star.
“He is in a position, at age 28, to make significant contributions to Philippine basketball and accordingly, eligible for the conferment of the honour of being a Philippine citizen.
“Blatche is possibly the best center from the NBA that we can get who is willing to shun more lucrative offers now and in the future just to be part of our national team.”
The World Cup begins on August 30 and runs through to September 14.