Reyes stresses Blatche’s value to Gilas
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes is sticking with the team’s decision to have Andray Blatche as the country’s only naturalized player.
Under the new rules for the Fiba Olympic Qualifiers, any team can bring in a new naturalized for every game but Reyes said Sunday that Gilas will standy Blatche no matter what.
Blatche took flak for his subpar performance against Australia when he had just eight points and seven rebounds on 3-of-11 shooting in the Philippines’ 84-68 loss, the team’s only setback in the group stage so far.
Despite the criticisms, Blatche bounced back in the 89-84 victory over Japan with 18 points, 16 rebounds, and four assists.
“As for Andray, his value has always been beyond numbers and I know he got a lot of flak for the last game but his job was to guard [Daniel] Kickert, Australia’s best player,” said Reyes at Mall of Asia Arena.
Kickert, prior to the Boomers’ game against Gilas, averaged 15 points a game but was limited to just five when he had Blatche guarding him.
“So those of you who understand basketball, you will see that it’s not just the points,” said Reyes. “There’s a lot of value into it.
Although Reyes stood by Blatche, he got a side casualty in the form of four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo.
Fajardo’s defensive assignment against Australia was Angus Brandt, who before the Gilas game, averaged eight points.
Brandt finished with 13 points to Fajardo’s 15 points but Reyes managed to use the statistic to give a negative connotation to his center’s effort.
Reyes, however, got his numbers mixed up when he cited the efforts of Fajardo and Blatche.
“Andray’s got eight points but his man had five, so that’s a plus three,” said Reyes. “If you go to June Mar as against Brandt who had 17 or 16, that’s negative, if basketball is a linear game, but it’s not.”
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