Brooklyn Nets backup center Andray Blatche confirmed that he was approached by some staff of the Gilas-Pilipinas to suit up for the Philippines as a naturalized player for the coming FIBA-World Cup in Spain on August this year.
Blatche admitted that he is indeed interested about the opportunity to play in the world basketball championship as part of the Philippine team a day after Gilas Head Coach Chot Reyes disclosed about a pending House Bill filed in Congress regarding plans to naturalize the Nets big man.
“It was brought to my attention a couple of days ago and I told them I'd be interested in doing it. It's cool,” Blatche told Brooklyn reporters.
Blatche added that the FIBA-World Cup in Spain is also a good opportunity for him to get ready for the 2015 season although he still doesn’t have a concrete idea on the plans of Gilas Pilipinas on him.
“It'll help me get ready for training camp and the season. I said I'm interested, so there's a good chance of it happening,” Blatche said.
“Basically, just go over there, and I can imagine just win. Play. Hoop. Win. Whatever. I don’t know.”
The report on Blatche’s naturalization went abuzz among Nets beat reporters during the team’s media availability.
The 28-year-old Blatche, who is currently averaging 12.1 pts and 6 rebs. for the Nets, even joked that he is half-Filipino.
Blatche’s teammate Joe Johnson was also asked by reporters if he knew if Blatche was half-Filipino, to which the high-scoring guard responded “No. But he is full of (expletive).”
Blatche was taken in the 2nd round by the Washington Wizards as the 49th pick of the 2005 NBa Draft.
Aside from Blatche, also being considered for naturalization is Denver center Javale McGee, who is he's former teammate with the Wizards where they were both starter.
McGee was taken 18th overall by Washington during the 2008 NBA Draft.
He is currently out of the game with fractured tibia.
It was learned earlier that Coach Reyes are looking to tap the two big men as naturalized player for the campaign of the Gilas in the FIBA World Cup.
Emerging from a meeting with the PBA board on Thursday, Reyes said two bills have been filed in Congress by Rep. Robbie Puno seeking the naturalization of McGee and Blatche.
Gilas also has obtained clearance from the two players' NBA mother teams for their stint with the national team.
If McGee and Blatche's naturalization papers are passed and both are healthy by June 30, they will join Gilas' naturalized player Marcus Douthit in a 24-man pool from where the national team to the World Cup and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea will be picked.
Fiba rules, however, limit teams to one naturalized player, meaning Reyes may have to choose among the three on who to tap for the two major tournaments.
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Blatche Confirms Gilas Pilipinas Offer
Reviewed by Phil Newsome