Bashers are 'going to find something else,' says Blatche
MANILA, Philippines – It has been a roller-coaster week for Andray Blatche.
Days after being criticized for a subpar showing against Australia, Blatche filled up the stats sheet by pouring in team-highs of 18 points and 16 rebounds on top of 4 assists, two steals and a block to steer Gilas Pilipinas in an 89-84 win over Japan Sunday, February 25.
As the final buzzer sounded, Blatche let out a huge scream at midcourt.
"It felt great. To advance, and definitely for being bashed the last 36, 48 hours, just to get a win and get some of it off my shoulders, just to know I was able to help us get to the second round," said Blatche.
The former NBA player drew a lot of flak for scoring just 8 points and hauling down 7 rebounds in Gilas' 68-84 loss to Australia last February 22.
But Gilas head coach Chot Reyes came to Blatche's defense, saying his job was to contain Daniel Kickert, who averaged 18.5 points, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and shot 77.7% from deep in the first window.
Against Blatche, Kickert was limited to 5 points, 4 rebounds, two assists against two turnovers.
Blatche, despite submitting his best offensive outing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asia Qualifiers against the Japanese, said it was not his way of getting back at his detractors.
"I'm sure they're going to find something else. But you know, all I can do is to continue getting better, stay focused," said Blatche.
With the 3rd window of the Asian Qualifiers happening in 4 months, Blatche feels he can still offer more for Gilas.
Gilas will face Chinese Taipei on June 29 before hosting Australia on July 2.
"I feel like I could do a lot better. It's a rhythm thing, I'm starting to get my rhythm back, starting to get my legs back." – Rappler.com