The Philippine Star

Azkals prospect nears naturaliza­tion

- By DELON PORCALLA

A committee of the House of Representa­tives approved Wednesday a bill granting Filipino citizenshi­p to Spanish-born football player Bienvenido Marañon who is to play for the Philippine Azkals.

The justice committee headed by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso (a former Court of Appeals justice) stamped its approval on House Bill 7427 that Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez – chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila developmen­t – authored.

Lopez said the 34-year-old Marañon, who now resides in Bacolod, wanted to be part of the Azkals and help them reach the World Cup. He has been residing in the country since 2015 and has actually joined the Ceres Football Club.

He played for the Ceres-Negros Team in the Asian Football Club Confederat­ion (AFC) Championsh­ip League.

“I would like to become a Filipino because I love the country, I love the people. I feel much love from the Filipino people, and I would like to give them the love that I received,” Marañon said.

The star football player is the leading goal scorer in the Philippine Football League and the all-time top scorer in the AFC Cup after scoring his 35th goal in Ceres-Negros’s 4-0 win against Bali United in March 11 this year.

“If granted the opportunit­y to play for the Philippine­s, Marañon will undoubtedl­y be an invaluable asset to the national football team, the Azkals, and bring pride and honor to the country,” Lopez said.

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