Naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche finally arrived in Manila on Sunday morning, ending speculations that the former National Basketball Association forward won’t honor his commitment with Gilas Pilipinas
Team manager Butch Antonio confirmed that the 6’10 Blatche arrived at four in the morning, took a breather and joined the Gilas training late in the afternoon at the Meralco gym.
“No more delays,” said Antonio, also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) deputy director for international affairs. “After a few hours of sleep, he will join the team in practice later in the afternoon today (Sunday) at Meralco gym.”
“I believe he is in good condition and looks fit after seeing him,” added Antonio.
It can be remembered that PHL 5 coach Chot Reyes expressed dismay after the former Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets forward failed to arrive on time as Gilas is already delayed with its preparation for the 017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship scheduled on May 12 to 18 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Reyes even told the national team to be prepared to play without Blatche in SEABA, the tournament that the country needs to win to qualify in the Asian Cup
Blatche, who reinforced Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup of Basketball in Spain and in the 2015 Olympic qualifiers, was originally set to arrive in Manila early last week, but the birth of his first son had forced him to delay his arrival.
After Sunday’s practice, Gilas will have two practice sessions on Monday before taking a break on Tuesday.
Blatche will be joining Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan, June Mar Fajardo, Matthew Wright, Terrence Romeo, Allein Maliksi, Japeth Aguilar, Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Jayson Castro in the team.