NBA player Blatche officially a Filipino as Aquino signs naturalization papers
MANILA, Philippines—NBA Player Andray Blatche is now officially a Filipino.
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday signed the papers granting Blatche Filipino citizenship, said Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
“We confirm that the President signed Republic Act 10636 granting Filipino citizenship to Mr. Blatche,” Lacierda said in a text message.
Blatche, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, will help the national men’s basketball team’s campaign in the 2014 Fiba World Cup slated in August.
The deadline of submission for the initial 24-man roster is on the 30th of June.
Smart Gilas Pilipinas qualified to the basketball’s biggest stage after making it to the finals of the Fiba Asia Championships held here. Aquino was in attendance in that finale.
National team coach Chot Reyes on Twitter thanked Aquino for signing the citizenship papers.
“Just got word the President has signed @drayblatche citizenship papers. Maraming Salamat, Mr, President!”
The 27-year-old Blatche was just recently in the country for a brief visit where he got to meet with some of his Gilas Pilipinas teammates and attended a PBA game.
“The opportunity that I’ve been receiving to come out here and represent the Philippines is something that you can only wish for and I’m very thankful to have the opportunity so when they asked me to come, I was excited,” Blatche said in an interview.
When center Marcus Douthit applied for naturalization, Aquino failed to sign the Republic Act no. 10148 but it still lapsed into law after 30 days. With a report from Kristine Sabillo