Andray Blatche declares himself "a proud Filipino"

Brooklyn Nets

After meeting with the Philippines Senate Monday, Andray Blatche told reporters that he is a "proud Filipino."

Blatche, in the Philippines for the first time in his life, needs only the go-ahead from President Benigno Aquino to take the oath of citizenship required for him to play for the Gilas, the national team, in the FIBA World Cup starting August 30. Aquino can either sign, veto or let lapse Blatche's naturalization bill, passed last month by the Philippines house and senate. Aquino is more likely to let the bill lapse which will give it the force of law. That, however, would make meeting a June 30 FIBA deadline problematic.  Blatche will retain US citizenship.

The Nets center also spoke about what he hopes to achieve for Team Philippines.

"I am very excited to play for the Philippines, and I thank everyone for making this once in a lifetime chance happen," Blatche told AFP Monday as he met with members of the Philippine Senate. "I am Filipino now, so I will do my best to help my team."

Meanwhile, the Filipino press reported Blatche still has a ways to go in mastering Tagalog, the native language.  Spin Philippines reported a problem with his tweet last Friday in which he said he was headed to Manila.

'Kumusta Manila, of course, means 'How are you, Manila' while the hashtag 'LabanPilipinasPuso' is the battle cry of the Gilas national basketball team which translates to 'Fight, Philippines' and '(All) Heart.'

But without the 'n' in the Tagalog word 'Laban,' the word takes on a whole new meaning. By saying 'LabaPilipinas,' Blatche had rallied the entire Filipino nation to do its laundry.

Blatche laughed off the discrepancy in a TV appearance saying his tweet had nothing to do with laundry.

Meanwhile, in Bosnia, Mirza Teletovic received the "Sports Personality of the Year" award from Bosnia's leading news and sports sites.  Teletovic's achievements with the Nets and with Team Bosnia in FIBA competition were cited by the journalists who selected him.

Teletovic is expected to play for Bosnia again this summer in the FIBA Europe Qualifying Tournament at the beginning of August. Teams who finish high enough in the qualifying tournament will be invited to FIBA Eurobasket in 2015.  Team Bosnia will lay Great Britain, coached by Nets assistant Joe Prunty, in the opening round.

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