Ekwe wants to be naturalized


Posted at Apr 02 2008 04:05 AM | Updated as of Apr 02 2008 12:05 PM

The Philippine Star

Nigerian behemoth Sam Ekwe on Tuesday said he’s willing to become a naturalized Filipino and undergo the long process to be able to represent the country in future international competitions.

"I’ve been in the Philippines for three years. I love everything here, the food, the basketball and the Filipinos. There’s no way to say no," said the 6-9 Ekwe during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Shakey’s Pizza UN Ave. branch in Manila.

Amateur basketball godfather and Harbour Centre team owner Mikee Romero welcomed Ekwe’s move, saying the 24-year-old cager would be of big help in RP’s future international campaigns.

"If it pushes through, he would be the main guy in every national basketball team in the next five years," said Romero.

Ekwe’s mettle will be tested in the import-laced SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) Champions Cup slated April 4-6 in Jakarta, Indonesia as spearhead of the Harbour Centre-backed Nationals.

Ekwe, who powered San Beda to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 to 2007, will play alongside Harbour Centre standouts Jayson Castro, Beau Belga, Jonathan Fernandez, Al Vergara, Jeff Chan and Boyet Bautista in the country’s quest to defend the title it won last year.

"I’m excited to play, it’s my first time to represent the Philippines," said Ekwe, who is also aspiring to play in the PBA someday.

"Yes, I also dream of playing in the PBA in the future," he said. Joey Villar