Gilas Pilipinas might not have the service of naturalized center Andray Blatche after the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (IAGOC) ruled on his disqualification even with the supported of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Bowman.
Bowman even wrote a letter to the IOGOC saying, “We would like to inform yo that the International Basketball Federation establishes the eligibility criteria for all basketball athletes worldwide for the purpose of their participation in national team competitions in official basketball competitions organized or sanction by FIBA.”
“The player that you have prohibited Entry plays is registered in FIBA’s eligibility system as player for the Philippine and has, in fact, just played several games this past week at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain for that country. It is quite confusing to hear that he is not allowed to compete for the same team just few weeks later…”, Bowman added.
The IAGOC is firmed in its previous decision on Blatche that the committee follows the Olympic Council of Asia rules and not the FIBA world governing body.
In the OCA’s game rules on Chapter 3 articles 49 and 50, a player must have satisfied three years of residence or holds a permanent residence in the Philippines after he was naturalized.
It is not only Blatche that was ruled out to play in the upcoming Asian Games, Chinese Taipei’s naturalized player Quincy Davis and nine players of Macau football team are barred.
The chance of the Philippine National Basketball team to get a gold medal is in limbo. The current situation even affects the preparation of Gilas. Even to the notion of replacing Blatche, there’s no certainty. Probably the best for Gilas is to get back Marcus Douthit if Blatche will be denied.
Richie Garcia, chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission and Asian Games chief of mission, said the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) are banking on a Plan B that will see Douthit, another naturalized player, fill the void that will be left by Blatche.
What if IAGOC would not allow any replacement?