Brooklyn Nets' Andray Blatche granted Filipino citizenship to play for national team

Philippine officials say Brooklyn Nets player Andray Blatche has been granted Filipino citizenship so he can play for the national team in the FIBA World Cup this year.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino III signed a law Wednesday granting citizenship to the American-born Blatche.

Senator Edgardo Angara, the main author of the law, says Filipinos are a "sports-loving nation with a distinct affection for basketball." He says the 2.11-meter (6-foot-11) Blatche, a power forward and center, can make "significant contributions to Philippines basketball."

The International Basketball Federation, or FIBA, allows each team to have one naturalized player per tournament. The Philippines is competing at the World Cup for the first time in 35 years.

Blatche averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season for Brooklyn.