Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche, who is not of Filipino descent, will reportedly become a Filipino citizen after a bill affirming his naturalization passes a third reading in the Philippines Senate Monday afternoon, and then after the bill is signed by Benigno Aquino III, President of the Philippines.
But before the bill is read Monday, Blatche signed an notarized affidavit swearing his intentions to play for the Philippine national squad and become involved in Filipino culture:
Blatche, 27, recently visited the Philippine consulate in New York City to sign a sworn affidavit expressing his commitment to play for the Gilas national squad. The affidavit was subscribed and sworn to before Cynthia Raia, notary public of New Jersey. A notarial certificate was subsequently issued by Consul Felipe Carino in a red ribbon document.
In his statement, Blatche affirmed his intention “to mingle with Filipinos and embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipino people.” He added, “it would be very intriguing to learn how to communicate with the (Filipino) language, however, my focus will be on playing basketball and interacting with my teammates as well as the fans of the Philippines.”
By choosing to play for the Philippines in FIBA competitions, Blatche renounces his right to play for any other country, including the US. He will be allowed to play exclusively for the Philippines in FIBA-regulated tournaments such as the World Cup and the Olympics throughout his basketball career.
“I want to play for Gilas Pilipinas as I saw them last year when they qualified for the World Cup due to placing in the Asian Championship FIBA Games,” he said. “It is exciting to me to have the opportunity to be able to participate in my offseason.” Blatche also said there is no pending criminal, civil or administrative case against him in the US or in any other country.
Blatche’s naturalization bill must be approved by the President before May 30th for him to be eligible for the Asian Games, which play from September 19th to October 4th. (Theoretically, the tournament could leak into an NBA training camp.) That means Aquino would have to sign the bill by Friday, when it would immediately become law.
This is really happening.
The Philippine Star — Blatche submits sworn affidavit