Angara: Beating Fiba deadline for Blatche naturalization a ‘tall order’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara admitted Wednesday that beating Fiba’s July 15 deadline to clear the necessary requirements for a naturalized player to be eligible in the coming World Cup won’t be easy.
“It’s a tall order but we will try our best,” Angara, Senate Committee chairman on Games, Amusement and Sports, told INQUIRER.net in a text message Wednesday.
Angara filed Senate Bill No. 2108 on February 5 granting Filipino citizenship to American Andray Blatche, who plays center for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA, to fortify Gilas Pilipinas’ bid in the World Cup this August.
The House of Representatives had already approved Blactche’s naturalization on third and final reading last Monday but it will undergo yet another review process in the upper house.
“Sen. Koko Pimentel said the Justice Committee can hear it soon but the earliest the Senate as a whole can take it up for second and third readings is in May when Congress returns,” Angara added.
The bill has been referred to the Justice Committee chaired by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Once it passes Senate, the two bills will then be consolidated before being transferred to Malacañang for final clearance and signing.
The six-foot-11 Blatche, who has a career average of 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and close to a block per game, is expected to give the Philippines a boost with his versatility and size.
Pressed for time, the task, according to Angara, is “doable.”
“We are exerting all efforts,” he said.
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