SBP to meet Greg Smith about possible naturalization for Gilas

May 3, 2017 - 9:30 PM
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PBA Media Bureau

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will meet with Blackwater Elite import Greg Smith on Thursday to discuss the possibility of him becoming the next naturalized player of Gilas Pilipinas.

Blackwater team manager Johnson Martines relayed the development to InterAksyon on Wednesday night.

“Bukas yung meeting namin with the SBP and sasamahan ko doon si Greg Smith,” Martines said after the Elite notched their second win in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup following a tough win over winless NLEX.

The former NBA veteran, who joined one Gilas Pilipinas practice last April, didn’t hide his desire to play for the basketball-crazy nation and stay here for good.

“I was surprised that I got invited. It was good, very productive to learn the system. It fits me. I’m hopeful and I’m praying for it, coming here in the days to come,” Smith said.

“I went to Cebu and Boracay. I can’t wait. This (the Philippines) is an amazing place, the beaches. They’re wonderful.”

The SBP has always been on the lookout for players willing to be naturalized and serve as a backup of Andray Blatche who recently drew the ire of Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes for not arriving in Manila on their agreed date.

Blatche was supposed to finally join the team on May 2, but his arrival was delayed due to the christening of his new-born child.

Apart from Smith, the SBP will also talk to Blackwater owner and Perlas Pilipinas chief backer Dioceldo Sy about women’s national team prospect Kelly Hardeman, a Philippine-born player who is seeing action in Europe.