Salud remains hopeful on Blatche's Asiad stint

By Dennis Gasgonia,

Posted at Aug 31 2014 11:31 AM | Updated as of Aug 31 2014 07:31 PM

SEVILLE, Spain -- Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Salud hopes the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will be able to resolve Andray Blatche's eligibility issue for the coming Asian Games in September.

The naturalized player scored 28 points against power house team Croatia in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball last Saturday and is projected to do more against Gilas' Asian counterparts in the XVII Asiad.

But according to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has pointed out that the 6-foot-11 Blatche will still have to serve a three-year residency before he could even represent the Philippines in the Asiad.

Salud, who is in Seville to cheer Gilas in the FIBA World Cup, said the SBP will have to be firm in its position so that they may be able to field the naturalized player. This year's games will take place in Incheon, South Korea.

"We just have to look at the rules and simply stick to the position that that our naturalized players ought to be able to play," the PBA chief said.

"I have not not seen the rule that they're citing but I guess the SBP studied this before. We have our Andray Blatche naturalized."

In an earlier statement, Gilas coach Chot Reyes said that they already checked the eligibility rules and found Blatche to be perfectly qualified for the Asiad.

Reyes maintained that the three-year eligibility rule only covers naturalized players who have previously represented another country in an international tournament.

“We checked it, it doesn't apply to us. We checked it out, we took a look at the rule book, we checked it out with the organizing committee, we're fine,” the coach said.