Jamal Wesley_Sampson_in_Dallas_shirt_19-01-12December 6 - Former LA Laker Jamal Wesley Sampson (pictured) has agreed to become a naturalised Filipino so he can help the country try to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.

The 6ft 11in Californian has signed a contract with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the national governing body, the executive director Noli Eala has announced.

Manny V Pangilinan, the President of the SBP, said: "We warmly welcome the presence of Jamal in the national team.

"His maturity, skills and size are what we need in our quest."

The 26-year-old Sampson, a cousin of former NBA All-Star Ralph Sampson, will replace C.J, Giles, who also had a spell with the Lakers, as the Philippines candidate as naturalised player for future international competition after he was dropped because of his poor attitude.

Sampson played for five seasons in the NBA and had stints with Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings, as well as the Lakers.

SBP vice president Ricky Vargas also lauded the addition of Sampson in the developmental team of Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, which is aiming to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since Munich in 1972.

He said: "Jamal is the player we need and his signing has improved our competitiveness.

"A true professional, he gave up better offers in China because he prefers to work with our players and live in the Philippine.

"SBP welcomes Jamal with high hopes."

Sampson is believed to be receiving about $15,000 (£9,000/€11,600) per month as part of the deal.

Eala said: "It took nearly two weeks of negotiation to get Jamal, but at least both parties are assured our deal was not hastily done."

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November 2009: Philippines turn attention to Sampson after Giles leaves
August 2009: Philippines want former LA Laker to lead them to London 2012
March 2009: Philippines launches basketball drive for London 2012