Express Week

Blatche waits for President Aquino OK

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MANILA -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is confident that NBA veteran Andray Blatche will get the blessing of President Aquino as additional reinforcement for the Gilas Pilipinas five in two international tournaments this year.


SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said Blatche’s naturalization papers have been forwarded to the Office of the President following the Senate approval on third and final reading last week of the bill, introduced by Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, granting Blatche Filipino citizenship.


“You must understand that the President is a busy person; let’s not get ahead of him,” Barrios said in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum at Shakey’s Malate.

“The President is aware of the urgency. We’re optimistic that he will act on it sooner or later, so let’s not rush him. We’re always in touch with his office.”

The House of Representatives approved the naturalization of Blatche last month through the efforts of Antipolo Rep. Robbie Puno.

The President has one month to either approve or veto Blatche’s naturalization before the application lapses into law.

Blatche, a 6-foot-11 inside operator from the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, is expected to lead Gilas in the Fiba World Cup to be held in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4 and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September.


Barrios told the forum backed by Accel, Shakey’s and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. that the SBP isn’t worried about Blatche’s eligibility in the Asian Games since the deadline for submission of entry by name in the continental meet is set on Aug. 15.

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