Blatche returns to training ahead of Gilas clash against Australia
By Paulo Loreto Lim
Following his release from Chinese Basketball Association team Xinjiang Flying Tigers, naturalized center Andray Blatche reportedly returned to daily training with the Philippines national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, ahead of next week’s clash with Australia in the ongoing 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying round.
The 6’11” player was spotted practicing at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City over the weekend and eventually joined formal training with the team at the West Greenhills Gym in San Juan City.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, Blatche expressed enthusiasm about training with Gilas Pilipinas, saying he was “super excited.”
“I feel like we have a very good chance,” he speculated on their upcoming faceoff with Australia. “We [have] got to work hard as a team, use our strengths, our quickness, our outside shooting ability, and our toughness.”
The Philippines is currently second in Group B, behind Australia, who is tied on points but carry a superior point differential. The two are scheduled to meet on Thursday, February 22, at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
Gilas has already notched two wins in their FIBA Asia campaign, beating Japan and Taiwan in their prior outings.
The top three teams advance to the second qualifying round to vie for a spot in the 2019 FIBAWorld Cup, which is set to take place in China next year, from August 31 to September 15./PLL, WDJ