Ex-NBA vet Greene open to playing for Gilas
Former NBA veteran Donte Greene is open to the possibility of suiting up for the Philippine national team as a naturalized player.
Greene, who has been tapped as import by TNT in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, joined Gilas Pilipinas pool training at Meralco Gym to get some work in before he makes his debut with the KaTropa on Friday.
“Coach asked me if I want to workout with the team, just trying to shake off my legs after a long flight,” said Greene, who spent four seasons with the Sacramento Kings. “It’s good to come out and have them see me. then maybe, possibly, down the road play with the team.”
“Philippine basketball is growing. It’s definitely world-known so be a part of that will be a blessing,” Greene added.
The 29-year-old Greene also said he’s familiar with the team’s current naturalized player Andray Blatche.
“I’ve known Andray Blatche for a while, he’s from Syracuse, I’m went to Syracuse so I’ve known him for a while.”
Greene had a short yet colorful collegiate career with Syracuse as he became the school’s first freshman since NBA star Carmelo Anthony to lead the team in scoring averaging 17.7 points per game while also setting the most 3-pointers made in a season by a first-year player with 90.
National coach Chot Reyes is also open to the idea of potentially tapping Greene as a naturalized player.
“You never know if the situation comes up where he can be naturalized. That’s not a bad thing to have options always,” Reyes told reporters.
“But it’s too early to tell. At least, I gave a chance personally to see him and work with him. We saw very little today. I know how he plays from the past, the NBA, and his playing days in Syracuse, but we have to see him actually coming here to play and figure out how he’s going to be able to adapt to the locals, to his teammates. That’s the most important thing.”
Greene, a 28th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2008 NBA Draft, averaged 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 253 games with the Kings. He last saw action in Puerto Rico.