JaVale McGee’s new four-year, $44-million contract with the Denver Nuggets won’t have any bearing on the possibility of his stint with the Philippine national team, said Antipolo City representative Robbie Puno.
The congressman earlier filed House Bill 6169, which would make McGee a Filipino citizen. In his bill’s cover letter, Puno cited McGee’s “remarkable track record in the United States’ professional basketball scene” as consideration for his inclusion in the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program.
“The NBA season is not in conflict with the FIBA tournaments where we want McGee to play,” Puno told InterAKTV in a text message. “Neither is his NBA contract in conflict with his playing for our national team.”
Puno said plans are afoot to have McGee come to the Philippines to appear in a congressional committee hearing.
“We’re still trying to get a schedule for a committee hearing, but I’ve already talked to (SMART-Gilas) coach Chot (Reyes) about bringing JaVale McGee here,” said Puno.
Puno confirmed that Tarlac representative Henry Cojuangco has expressed interest to co-author the bill.
“He’s a basketball personality, so that’s why he wants to help out,” said Puno, adding that Cojuangco’s influence with the Nationalist People’s Coalition will help pave the way for the bill.
Cojuangco is the younger brother of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., the chairman of San Miguel Corporation.
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