SBP seeks FIBA help over Blatche's eligibility issue

By Dennis Gasgonia,

Posted at Sep 01 2014 04:04 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2014 12:45 AM

SEVILLE, Spain -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has already sought the assistance of FIBA, the world's governing body in basketball, to help them clarify matters with the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) regarding Andray Blatche's eligibility for the upcoming Asian Games.

The OCA has reportedly questioned the Philippines' move to field the NBA player together with Gilas Pilipinas, citing their three-year residency rule on naturalized players.

But SBP president and sports patron Manny Pangilinan said they already raised the issue when they met with senior FIBA officials last Friday during the basketball governing body's world congress in Spain.

"We attended the FIBA world congress last Friday dito sa Seville," Pangilinan told a group of reporters here. "That's been raised with [FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann]. They will write OCA... They promised they will give their view on the residency rule. We're also talking to some officials of OCA."

Pangilinan said Blatche's presence in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea will definitely boost the nationals' chances of winning its first Asian gold medal since 1962.

Blatche scored 28 points against Croatia in the FIBA World Cup. In the following game against Greece, he put up a 21-point effort.

"With the way Blatche has been performing, may tulog ang Korea and China and he can match up against [Iran's Hamed] Haddadi," Pangilinan said.

Based on OCA's eligibility rules, a naturalized citizen must first serve a three-year residency before fielding the player to an international competition.

But SBP argued that the residency rule only covers naturalized players who represented another country in a previous global tilt.

Despite being born an American, Blatche has never represented the US in an international basketball tournament.