TWO members of Gilas Pilipinas welcomed moves to naturalize NBA players JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche to reinforce the national team roster for the 2014 Fiba-World Cup.
Talk ‘N Text forward Ranidel De Ocampo said the possible additions of bonafide NBA players will greatly help the Nationals since they have the experience as far as playing in high-level of competition is concerned.
“Mas okay ‘yun kasi kilala na nila ‘yung galaw sa international,” said De Ocampo during the launching of sports management agency Virtual Sports on Thursday.
“’Yung mga nakakalaro nila mga NBA players, maganda rin na mayroon tayong athlete na NBA player,” De Ocampo added.
Rain or Shine gunner Jeff Chan also supports the tapping of NBA veterans as naturalized players, stressing they will certainly add ceiling to Gilas Pilipinas.
“Magiging positive din ‘yun para sa atin dahil malalaki silang players,” Chan said.
The shooting guard, however, said if ever a new naturalized player will be added to the team, hopefully he’ll be able to join the team for a longer period of training.
“Malaki ang maitutulong nila pero kailangan din namin ng time. Malalaki nga sila pero kung two weeks lang sila makakasama, balewala rin,” said Chan.
House bills pushed by Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno have been submitted in Congress for the naturalization of both McGee and Blatche that could pave the way for the two NBA players to possibly see action for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba-World Cup later this year in Spain.
Currently, Marcus Douthit is the team’s lone naturalized player who saw action for the national team during the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship where the country finished a surprising runner-up behind champion Iran to book a berth in the world cage championship.
Douthit, who has been with the national team since the first batch of the original Gilas squad, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004 but never suited up for any NBA team.
However, Fiba rules only allow one naturalized player to suit up for any team in sanctioned competitions.