South Korea looking to add Star's Ricardo Ratliffe as a naturalized player
Paul Lintag on Jun 06, 2017 05:28 PM
South Korean and current Star import Ricardo Ratliffe go way back.
Familiarize yourself with Ricardo Ratliffe, we might be seeing more of him in the near future.
South Korea, the Philippines' longtime rival in international basketball, has the prolific Star import in mind as a possible naturalization candidate.
In fact, it looks like he's the only option for the Koreans who are ranked 30th in the world in fifth in Asia.
In a report by Fox Sports, Ratliffe confirmed the development although nothing is set in stone yet.
"I'm the only candidate," he said per Jason Mercene of Fox Sports.
"I don't really know. We are still trying to negotiate. I'm not really sure if it's gonna work out or not but they wanted me to at least try," he added.
In a separate report by Korea Joongang Daily earlier this year, it appears that Ratliffe, who is in his second stint with Star in the PBA, is more than willing to join the Korean national team as a naturalized citizen.
It also looks like Korea is his only option if he decides to go through the process of naturalization.
"Having started my pro life in Korea, it's my second home," Ratlifee said per Park Rin of Korea Joongang Daily.
"If I wanted money, I could have accepted an offer of naturalization to Taiwan three years ago," he added. "Even after that though, there were calls for naturalization from other countries. I declined them because I love Korea."
After going undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, Ratliffe went straight to Korea, playing for Ulsan Mobis Phoebus in the Korean Basketball League after the team picked him sixth overall, making him the first American college player to get drafted in the KBL.
He spent three seasons with Mobis Phoebus and even led the squad to the 2014 William Jones Cup championship.
In his current stint for the Hotshots, a team that is one win away from the semifinals, Ratliffe is averaging 32.6 points and 21 rebounds per game.
The basketball rivalry between the Philippines and South Korea has been one of the fiercest in the Asian scene.
The last time both countries met was in the semifinals of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships in Manila in a game won by the Filipinos, 86-79, to advance to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Both countries didn't have the chance to play each other in the 2015 edition of FIBA Asia after Korea lost in the quarterfinals. The Philippines ended up finishing second anew behind China while the South Koreans dropped from third to sixth.
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