Andray Blatche arrives to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas in 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
MANILA, Phililppines – Andray Blatche is back in the Philippines to reinforce the SMART Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, which will begin on Friday, November 24, in Tokyo, Japan.
Blatche arrived early in the morning on Sunday, November 19, and immediately joined the team's morning practice. His arrival was delayed due to his participation in the last two games with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season.
Despite recovering from a right calf injury, Blatche is confident in his performance, mentioning that his familiarity with the Philippine team is helping him get back into groove.
"We had one practice earlier and I’m confident about the offense, the defense and the players and the coaches so it’s a quick adjustment," said Blatche.
"I’m great. I’m in good shape. Definitely from starting over this season, getting back from my injury, just being on the court and playing."
The former NBA player also dismissed the conditions set up by the new home-and-away format of the qualifiers, saying that his love for the game will allow him to break the odds.
"If you love the game of the basketball so you just keep on playing and playing, and it’s fun. You practice so long for a game so when the game is coming, you just roll with the punches."
Blatche's last stint with Gilas Pilipinas was in the Southeast Asian Basketball Asssociation tournament, where the Philippines swept the competition. He was also part of the roster in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships held in China. – Rappler.com