Andray Blatche joined Gilas first official practice for the upcoming 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
The American-Filipino professional basketball player Andray Blatche, 28 year-old, did not miss to attend the first official practice of team Gilas Pilipinas preparing to compete the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. Blatche now plays for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.
As the 16 man pool official Gilas Pilipinas team announced, Blatche welcomed by his old teammates as well as the new one. The squad currently composed of veterans and a few first-timers, JuneMar Fajardo, Marc Pingris and LA Tenorio were also in the list despite of some issues that they had declined to join the game. They were included in the 16 PBA players. The team made available for the Gilas Pilipinas training pool for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship on Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 in Changsha, China.
In the statement of PBA, “In our desire to form the best national team for FIBA Asia in September, the PBA is endorsing to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas an initial list of players.”, “Should there be additional names in the next few days, we will immediately inform the SBP.”
As Blatche joining the official practice, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin said it was good to see Andray Blatche participating in the drills with players familiar to the former NBA veteran as well as with new ones.
Expressing his excitement, Blatche told reporters, “I’m excited and I miss them (Gilas) a lot. We made a quick brotherhood in the short time we had and I can’t wait to see them.”
Blatche once helped the Philippines, through his 18-point and 14-rebound performance in their first World Cup win in 40 years, defeating Senegal 81-79 in overtime. He was named the 2014 Philippine FIBA Basketball World Cup and Asian Games squad, August 2014.
With his passion to play with the Philippine team, he disqualified to play in the 2014 Asian Games as he lacked the required three-year residency in the Philippines. A bill granting Blatche’s Filipino citizenchip approved by the Philippine Senate on 26 May 2014 and he then became naturalized citizen of the Philippines enabling him to join national basketball team, June 2014. IMAGE/www.philstar.com