Chot mulls nat­u­ral­iza­tion of PBA im­ports for Gi­las

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - – Nel­son Bel­tran

A Fil-for­eign player, play­ing out­side the PBA, may join the Gi­las Pilip­inas pool from which two sep­a­rate teams will be formed to com­pete in the FIBA Asia Cup and in the South­east Asian Games late this year.

“Coach Josh (Reyes) and our other coaches have been talk­ing to their friends,” said Gi­las team man­ager Butch An­to­nio on the pos­si­bil­ity of a Fil-for­eign player com­ing on board to beef up the pool.

“In case of Fil-for­eign play­ers, they’re au­to­mat­i­cally el­i­gi­ble to play for our team but as a nat­u­ral­ized player,” An­to­nio pointed out.

Nat­u­ral­ized player An­dray Blatche is ex­pected to ar­rive in the next few days to suit up for Gi­las in the SEABA Cham­pi­onship at the Smart Araneta Coli­seum on May 12-18. He’s likely to re­turn later on to also don the national jersey in the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut in Au­gust.

A Fil-for­eign player com­ing over and play­ing as a nat­u­ral­ized player of Team Phl in the SEA Games in Malaysia in Au­gust is also a pos­si­bil­ity.

Don­tee Greene and Greg Smith are among PBA im­ports who have ex­pressed will­ing­ness to un­dergo nat­u­ral­iza­tion process for a chance to suit up with Gi­las.

But nat­u­ral­iza­tion through leg­is­la­tion is a long process and Gi­las coach Chot Reyes is re­al­is­tic they can’t con­sider th­ese im­ports in their com­ing in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.

Rec­om­mended by the Black­wa­ter man­age­ment, Smith showed up in the Gi­las prac­tice ses­sion at the Mer­alco Gym Thurs­day night. Greene had had his ear­lier work­out with Gi­las.

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