Philippine national men’s basketball coach Chot Reyes made a splash on Thursday after announcing that bills have been filed for the naturalization of NBA players JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche, which would allow either of them to play for Gilas Pilipinas
“We all know that we’ve been in discussion with JaVale McGee for quite some time,” said Reyes of the Denver Nuggets center. “We had clearance already from his mother team, the problem is he just found out he has to undergo surgery of his injured shin so hindi tayo sure if he’ll make it on time for the World Cup.”
That meant that Gilas braintrust had to look for another big man and found McGee’s former Washington Wizards teammate Andray Blatche, who now sees action for the Brooklyn Nets.
“So we chose a backup and that’s Andray Blatche. He wants to play for the Philippine national team. He’s 28 years old playing for the Brooklyn Nets averaging 12 points and six rebounds,” he added.
Reyes hopes the naturalization process of these two players will be fast-tracked.
“We are in the process, but I don’t know if that pushes through and we don’t know if that will make it on time, that’s why we’re rushing this,” said Reyes,
“The target is hopefully June 30 where we submit the 24-man line up to FIBA and include the names of JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche together with Marcus Douthit on the list.”
While only one naturalized player will be allowed to suit up for Gilas in the World Cup, Reyes noted that having multiple options is a good thing.