President Benigno Aquino 3rd has signed a bill granting Filipino citizenship to American NBA veteran Andray Blatche, making him eligible to play for the Philippines in the FBA World Cup in August in Spain.
“We confirm that the President signed Republic Act 10636 granting Filipino citizenship to Mr. Blatche,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told media in a statement on Wednesday.
The Senate last month granted Filipino citizenship to the 6-foot-11 Brooklyn Nets center. Aquino’s signature on Wednesday made his citizenship official.
The Philippines finished second to Iran in last year’s FIBA Asia Championship in Manila, earning a berth in the World Cup for the first time in 40 years.
Helping the national squad gain the World Cup slot was American Marcus Douthit, a global journeyman. Naturalized in 2011, Douthit has been a mainstay of the team. Averaging 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds a game this season for the Nets, the 27-year Blatche is expected to play a leading role on the Philippine team. Ranked 34th in the world, the Philippines will face Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Senegal and Puerto Rico in Group B.