SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan hopes to gain the support of the Senate when the bill seeking the naturalization of NBA player Andray Blatche will be reviewed for the first time in the Upper House of Congress on Tuesday.
After passing three readings in the House of Representatives, House Bill 4048 has been elevated and is set to go through the first of three readings in the Senate.
“We’re grateful for Congress and Senate for expediting the process,” Pangilinan said.
Sen. Sonny Angara, who authored the bill, will preside the hearing as head of the Games and Amusement committee.
If and when the bill is passed into a law, Blatche, the veteran center of the Brooklyn Nets, will bolster a Gilas Pilipinas side that will try to make heads turn in the Fiba-World Cup this August in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Blatche becoming the second naturalized player of Gilas Pilipinas could mean bumping off original choice Marcus Douthit to the sidelines.
“We will still retain Marcus, but we’re grateful for him for understanding the situation,” Pangilinan said.
National standout Marc Pingris gave his thumbs up to Blatche’s naturalization.
“Para sa akin, okay yun. Basta makitaan lang din natin sana siya na kahit hindi pusong Pinoy, dapat ipaglaban niya yung bandila natin,” Pingris said of Blatche.