MANILA, Philippines – Smart Gilas-Pilipinas import Marcus Douthit is now a naturalized Filipino citizen, after the bills in Congress that sought to have the New York native naturalized lapsed into a law.
The bills were left unsigned by President Benigno Aquino III.
After the prescribed month-long grace period, they effectively became a law making the 30-year-old Douthit eligible to play for Smart Gilas and other national teams as a Filipino.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed the news about Douthit's naturalization.
Happy to be naturalized
Douthit said he was glad to hear the news.
“I’m very happy, of course, because I can now concentrate on playing and not worry on anything about my papers. I can now focus on helping the team completely without the distraction,” said the 6’11” basketball player.
Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman and team manager Frankie Lim also welcomed the development.
“He will be a very integral part of our future campaigns not only for Smart Gilas Pilipinas but also for other future national basketball teams in the next four to five years,” said Toroman.
“It’s good news for everyone, Marcus gives us a legitimate chance in the FIBA-Asia Championship in China,” said Lim.
Douthit’s presence is crucial in beefing up the Gilas line-up in the shaded lane.
He actually led the Nationals to 4 straight wins in the ongoing PBA Commissioners Cup. – With a report from The Philippine Star