MANILA — The Senate approved on final reading the naturalization on Monday of National Basketball Association (NBA) player Andray Blatcheof the Brooklyn Nets.
The bill, which was earlier questioned by some lawmakers because Blatche has not even been to the Philippines before, will confer Philippine citizenship to the NBA player.
The author of the measure, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, said in a Philippine Star report that the move gives the NBA player an opportunity to help the Philippine national basketball team.
“Blatche is possibly the best center from the NBA that we can get who is willing to shun more lucrative offers now and in the future just to be part of our national team,” Angara said.
The Philippine national basketball team will be competing in the FIBA World Championships in Spain this August.
Blatche will also be playing in other tournaments of the Philippine team including the Asian Games in September this year in South Korea and in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“This was indeed a total team effort on the part of the Senate. Credits are due to both the majority and minority blocs for supporting this measure, which to my mind, is the Senate’s own way of contributing to the cause of our basketball team,” he said.
However, Blatche will be prohibited to join any other foreign national team as a deal for accepting to the part of the Philippine team.
Blatche plays an average of 12 points and six rebounds per game in the NBA.