Manila, Philippines – In hoping to find a backup for naturalized player Andray Blatche, who is turning 31 in August and nearing the end of his prime, Gilas Pilipinas searched for a backup and maybe a replacement for Andray Blatche.
And after several days of searching, Gilas Pilipinas reached an agreement with Greg Smith, NBA veteran who’s the current import of Blackwater Elite.
Greg Smith, a 6-foot-10 Center/ Power Forward, told Blackwater Team owner Dioceldo Sy of his interest to play for the country because of his fascination in exploring the Philippine islands and the passion that Filipino fans bring for basketball which he witnessed back then when he was still a player for the Houston Rockets that held NBA Global Games here in the country.
“He went down to Cebu and loved the islands. He also loves basketball and I think that really made him fell in love with the Philippines. He’s very interested on being naturalized,” Sy told Inquirer.
The Gilas management wants Smith to be part of the program until 2023. But Smith will still undergo the legal process required for him to be a Filipino Citizenship.
The Blackwater team owner said that he will personally try to set an appointment with Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to get the ball rolling for Smith’s possible naturalization.
After playing eight games in the PBA as an import, Smith is averaging 26.5 points, 22.13 rebounds, 4.75 assists and 1.13 blocks.