Sunday, September 14, 2014
Portland Trail Blazers' Robin Lopez willing to join Gilas Pilipinas
Portland Trail Blazer Robin Lopez said he’s willing to become a naturalized Filipino to be able to play for Gilas Pilipinas.
Lopez, who visited communities affected by typhoon Yolanda, said he fell in love with Filipino culture, including their love for basketball.
“I love the culture here,” said Lopez in a SPIN report by Karlo Sacamos.
Joining Lopez in the Philippines were his team mate Wesley Matthews and former San Antonio Spur and former NBA Coach of the Year Avery Johnson.
“I’d love to [play for the country]. I realized the passion these people have for basketball.”
He said his statement was not meant to diminish Blatche’s efforts with Gilas Pilipinas, which made its mark in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
“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,” said Lopez.
After his FIBA World Cup stint, Blatche was supposed to join the Philippine national team in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea late this month.
But the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) denied him eligibility, saying he should first have a 3-year residency before competing in the Asian joust.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas appealed the decision, but was later forced to accept it and field Marcus Douthit instead.