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Ex-SMB import tweets Chot: I'll play for Gilas
San Miguel Beermen's former import Charles Rhodes | File Photo
MANILA, Philippines — A case of a solution presenting itself?
Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player puzzle now seems less of a problem after San Miguel Beer’s former reinforcement Charles Rhodes reached out to coach Chot Reyes early Saturday.
Through a Twitter post, the 32-year-old Texas native told the head coach of the national team that he is interested in representing the country "both on and off the court."
@coachot Hello Coach, I want to play for you and the Philippines. Please consider, as I want to represent this country on and off the court
— Charles Rhodes (@officialcrhodes) September 1, 2017
Rhodes won a championship with San Miguel in the previous PBA conference, and he did so by being the primary cog in the Beermen’s offensive machine. He shot long bombs, stuffed the leather, and showed that he could even orchestrate the offense. And a testament to his all-around game? A Best Import citation.
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If Reyes is interested on tapping the 6-foot-8 forward for national team duties, he will be the third American to go the rigors of naturalization process. The first was Marcus Douthit, who got his Filipino citizenship in 2011 and then Andray Blatche, who was made Filipino through President Aquino’s Republic Act 10636 in 2014.
The only caveat is that Rhodes is already 32 if gets into the naturalization process. Douthit was 27 when he was accorded Filipino citizenship. Blatche, on the other hand, was 28.
Last summer, the Blackwater Elite’s then import Greg Smith also expressed interest in donning the Gilas threads. There had been no progress on the burly big man ever since.
The national team, which is now bracing for the Basketball World Cup qualifiers this November, currently has versatile Filipino-German Christian Stanhardinger as its naturalized player.
Standhardinger’s contract with the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions in the Asean Basketball League is expected to bring complications to the team’s preparations for the FIBA contest, which will now feature a home-and-away format.