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OCA declares Blatche ineligible for this year's Asiad

Andray Blatche will not play for Gilas Pilipinas in this year's Asian Games as
the OCA upheld the organizing committee's initial decision to bar him from
playing as per the residency rules set by the council. FIBA.com (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

The Olympic Council of Asia stepped into the picture about Andray Blatche's eligibility to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the Asian Games and supported the Asiad's organizing committee's decision not to allow the naturalized player to play in the said event in Incheon, South Korea.

In a letter given to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as a reply to its request to reconsider the organizing committee's initial decision and honor FIBA's eligibility rules, OCA Director General Husain Al-Musallam said that the three-year residency rule that became the basis for Blatche to be barred from participation, which is Article 49 of its constitution, is identical to Article 41 of the Olympic Charter.

He also cited Article 50-2(b) of the said constitution, which says that all the athletes who want to play in the Asiad, whether homegrown, naturalized, or of mixed descent, to reside in the participating country for at least three years, as a reason.

Al-Musallam also said that the residency rules have been in effect since 1986, when the Asiad was held in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

He concluded by requesting to the Philippine Olympic Committee to submit documents showing that Blatche has been a Philippine resident for three years.

Blatche's naturalization was only approved two months ago. He could be given the green light to play in the next Asiad in 2018 should he follow the residency rule.

Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes tweeted that he is ready to parade longtime reinforcement Marcus Douthit as a replacement to Blatche in Incheon.
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