May 26, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
Brooklyn’s Andray Blatche — born in Syracuse, New York, and attended South Kent high school in Connecticut — is about to become a citizen of the Philippines.
It took a special bill recently unanimously passed by the Philippines senate and about to be signed by the country’s president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, which is basically a formality at this point, reports FIBA.com.
Why the special act of congress for the enigmatic center? So Blatche can and will play for that nation in the FIBA World Cup late this summer in Spain.
“Andray Blatche has openly expressed his desire to play for the Philippines,” (Filipino Senator Sonny) Angara said. “He is in a position, at age 28, to make significant contributions to Philippine basketball and accordingly, eligible for the conferment of the honor of being a Philippine citizen.
“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.”
Well, Blatche was never going to make Team USA, he’s not exactly a Mike Krzyzewski kind of player and there is a long line of better centers ahead of him for that squad. When first offered this last year Blatche jumped at it (they also wanted JaVale McGee but his injury ended the dream of the ultimate Shaqtin-a-Fool frontcourt).
The Philippines are in Group B with some good teams — Argentina, Greece, Puerto Rico, Croatia and Senegal. The top four teams out of that group will advance and the Philippines will be on the bubble.
Other players you might know on the Philippines team? There’s former Providence star Marcus Douthit, who is Filipino-American.
But if you can’t get enough Blatche — and who can? — you can get your fix at the World Cup now.
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