The final hurdle between Andray Blatche and Filipino citizenship, which does not include “being of Filipino descent,” has been cleared.
President Benigno Aquino III signed the bill Wednesday granting Blatche naturalized citizenship, meaning that Blatche is eligible to play in the FIBA World Cup this summer for Gilas, the national team of the Philippines. He has also waived his right to play for any other country, including his home United States. Blatche also plans to play in the Asia Games in September, though the dates could conflict with an NBA training camp.
FIBA teams allow one naturalized player per country, and the Philippines are hitching their wagon to Blatche, who averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this year. He also set career-bests in player efficiency rating in the last two seasons.
Gilas hopes to set up their practice camp in Miami to appease Blatche, who lives there in the offseason.
Blatche has a player option for the 2013-14 season, which he told reporters he expects to decline, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Nets can offer Blatche a deal up to four years and about $26 million.