Naturalized Filipino player Andray Blatche said that he would dedicate the Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the 28th FIBA Asia Championship on September 23 to October 3 to his ailing mother Angela Oliver in the United States.
“My mother has a cancer but she is doing better now,” the 6’11 Blatche told The Manila Times in an interview. “I dedicate not only this game but all of my games [to my mom]. My mom is bigger than the game itself. I spent time with her while I was in the US and it’s good to say that she’s doing better now.”
Blatche, 28, a former Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards power forward in the National Basketball Association (NBA) said that he wants to keep a positive outlook regarding Gilas’ chances in the tournament.
“I don’t like to think about losing because that will end up with it if you think of something negative. I have no other expectation but only to win and qualify for the Olympics,” said Blatche, who had an average of 21.2 points and 13.8 rebounds per game during last year’s FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Blatche said that he would do everything to satisfy the expectations of his Filipino fans, “I cannot assure anything but to play hard. I’m really inspired to play here for the Philippines and it is good to be back. Right now my focus is this team now and I don’t think about of coming back to the NBA yet.”
Blatche also stressed that he has enough time to regain peak fitness before the games in Changsha, China, “Nobody spend one time to be in good game shape compared to the last time they played. I don’t know what’s the big deal about it [being not in good shape in the first day of practice]we still have more than one month left,” he said.