Andray Blatche lived up to the Philippines’ expectations in his first tournament as a naturalized citizen.
Though the Philippines went just 1-4 in the World Cup, the team was competitive in every game – thanks to Blatche. He starred, averaging 21.1 points (second in the World Cup) and 13.8 rebounds (first) per game.
After a quirky start, this relationship is going well.
But if the Philippines are ever looking for another ringer – national teams are allowed one naturalized citizen – Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez would be eager to join.
Lopez, via Karlo Sacamos of Spin.ph
“If the whole Andray Blatche thing doesn’t work out, I’m here for Gilas,” Lopez said on Thursday after conducting a training camp organized by Gatorade and NBA Philippines at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.
“I don’t wish any harm to come to Dray because obviously he’s played his heart out for that team and he’s a great fit,” the Portaland Trail Blazer said
“I’d love to (play for the country). I realized the passion these people have for basketball,” said Lopez, whose brother Brook played with Blatche at Brooklyn in the last NBA season.
Blatche, in the estimate of Rafe Bartholomew of Grantland, received more than $1 million from the Philippines for this venture. Maybe the national team broke the bank to get any NBA player, but Lopez is better than Blatche. He could try to draw even more money.
So, yes, I’m sure Lopez respect Filipino basketball culture. But there would also be a financial benefit if he ever gained citizenship and joined the national team.