Blatche back for Gilas in Fiba Asia | Inquirer Sports
In Huddle

Blatche back for Gilas in Fiba Asia

/ 12:05 AM July 01, 2015

Basketball-crazy Filipinos rejoiced when the groupings for the 2015 Fiba Asia Men’s Championship was announced two days ago.

They felt the country got the luck of the draw when it was bunched in Group B along with lightweights Palestine, Kuwait and either Hong Kong or Mongolia, the representative from East Asia.

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Does this mean that it will be easier for the Philippines to duplicate or even surpass its runnerup finish in 2013, when the tournament was held here? Do we have reason to rejoice for being grouped with lightweights?


The Inquirer sought answers from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barios and his deputy Butch Antonio.

“We can look at our prospects with  guarded optimism,” Barrios said.

Antonio, on the other hand, stressed that the national five should always respect all its opponents. “Like in all the previous teams that have represented the country, preparation is the key,” he said, adding he could assess the country’s team better after the final lineup is formed.

That won’t be after the PBA season is over.

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What Antonio, and Barrios for that matter, neglected to say is that naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche can play for the country in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments, unlike in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games where he was disqualified because he did not fulfill the three-year residency requirement.


We were enlightened about Blatche when we talked to Antonio again later in the day.

“Yes, Blatche can play for Gilas in the Fiba Asia this September. We are currently in the process of finalizing logistics,” he said.

That is the good news. Indeed it should give Filipinos reason to rejoice.

With Blatche in the team, the country will be much, much stronger.

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A total of 16 teams from all over the continent will be competing in the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship, scheduled Sept. 23 to Oct. 3, in Changshia, Hunan, in China.

TAGS: Andray Blatche, Basketball, FIBA Asia, Sports

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