The naturalization bill that would permit Andray Blatche to play for the Philippine national team in the World Championship this summer continues to move through that nation's Congress. Already approved by the lower house, it's now awaiting approval in the Senate. From there it will go the office of the Filipino President.
Blatche, who's been quiet lately on the issue, is hopeful, and excited, it will work out.
"I am excited; this is something new. It is a blessing for this opportunity," Blatche told NBA Philippines. "Hopefully, I can share my talent in helping the Philippines."
Blatche told NBA.com's Julius Romero that he's ready to play with the team, known as the Gilas, once he hears word from Manila about his naturalization process, after he completes his season with the Nets and resolves his free agency status in the off-season. Blatche has a player option on July 1. He will still receive an amnesty payment from the Wizards next year and no matter what happens, his total take in amnesty and salary should total nearly $10 million.
FIBA rules permit one naturalized player per national team, but the player must be naturalized by July 15 and Filipino legislators admit it will be close. So close in fact that the Filipino Consul General in New York told Romero he's willing to do whatever is needed to facilitate Blatche's naturalization.
If Blatche is naturalized, he will play for the Gilas on August 30 vs. Croatia ... and Bojan Bogdanovic.
- Blatche on playing for Gilas: It's a blessing - Julius Romero - NBA Philippines