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Andray Blatche is almost Filipino


It looks like two of the current Nets will participate in the FIBA World Championships next summer in Spain.  Jorge Gutierrez led Mexico to an improbable victory in the FIBA Americas tournament in 2013, giving the Mexican national team an automatic berth.  And now, it looks increasingly like Andray Blatche will be playing for the Philippines, one of the Asian nations invited.

The Philippines House of Representatives on Monday approved the naturalization of the Nets big man. The bid to give Blatche Filipino citizenship now moves to the Senate. If approved there --and its likely-- the bill will go to the country's president for signature and final approval.  Blatche will then have dual citizenship in the US and Philippines. As long as the law is enacted by June, he will be eligible to play in the World Cup for the national team, known as the Gilas.

"Mr. Blatche, with his exceptional ability in the field of basketball, complemented by his commendable work ethic, will certainly bring pride and honor to our country. As such, he truly deserves to enjoy the full benefits of Philippine citizenship," Rep. Robbie Puno, the bill's sponsor, said. Blatche has declined comment on the process in recent weeks.

Many players from around the world choose to play for another country in FIBA tournaments, although few have as tenuous connection as Blatche does to the Philippines.  Javale McGee, his former teammate in Washington, recruited Blatche, but now McGee will be unavailable after season-ending leg surgery.

Deron Williams has been invited to try out for Team USA, he has admitted that's unlikely. Andrei Kirilenko has retired from Team Russia and Mirza Teletovic's Bosnian team didn't make the final cut. The Nets' two Euro-Stash, Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia and Ilkan Karaman of Turkey, are expected to play in Spain.

Blatche has a player option for next season that he must exercise by June 30.