|Bienve Marañon has finally been granted Filipino naturalization. AFC (file photo)|
MANILA--Consider Bienve Marañon a Filipino from now on.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the naturalization of the United Clark striker, making him eligible to play for the Philippine Azkals.
Signed copies of Republic Act 11570, the legislation for Marañon's naturalization, were distributed to media outfits on Wednesday, baring that Duterte actually granted Marañon Filipino citizenship on Friday, right on the day it was supposed to lapse into law without Duterte's approval.
The naturalization process for Marañon began just about the same time as that of Ateneo center Ange Kouame.
However, it was Kouame whose citizenship was granted first in time for Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the recently concluded FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers third window and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Marañon's bid, on the other hand, was stalled, forcing Coach Scott Cooper not to call him up for the Azkals' stint in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers last month.
But finally, Maranon can join for the Azkals for their upcoming competitions, the third round of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers and the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Marañon is currently in Tashkent with United Clark as it is wrapping up its maiden stint in the AFC Champions League.
United Clark takes on Beijing on Thursday night.
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