Gilas Pilipinas eyeing McGee, Blatche for naturalization
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine men’s national basketball team is eyeing two reinforcements from the National Basketball Association to aid the country’s campaign in the Fiba World Cup.
In a post on Twitter, Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Panglinan said that they have their eyes on Denver Nuggets’ center Javale McGee and Brooklyn Nets reserve Andray Blatche.
House Bill Nos. 3784 and 3783, for the naturalization of McGee and Blatche, respectively, have already been filed in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Atty. Robbie Puno,
but were not yet included in the official business in the plenary, and have not been referred to the committee level.
“We need to naturalize at least two players to avoid jeopardizing the entire basketball program in the event of an injury to any of our naturalized players,” said Puno in the explanatory note of Bill No. 3783.
The Filipinos have been availing of the services of the 33-year-old naturalized center Marcus Douthit in the past years.
The seven-foot McGee, who had a chance to play in the country in the NBA All-Star weekend here in 2011, has long been eyed for naturalization, but the previous bill filed in May 2012 did not materialize because of financial concerns.
“This measure is a re-filed bill from the 15th Congress,” the note in Bill No. 3784 read. “The financial concerns and other constraints have now been resolved to the advantage of the Philippine national team.”
Puno also stressed the sense of urgency of the naturalization because Smart Gilas Pilipinas has to submit its line-up to Fiba by May 30.
The Filipinos qualified for the Fiba World Cup in Spain slated August this year after a historic run to the finals in the Fiba Asia Championships last year.