With Blatche out of Jones Cup, ‘everybody will have to step up’
Gilas Pilipinas will have to make do without naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche for the most part of its stint in the 2015 Jones Cup.
Blatche has reportedly left Taiwan to attend his uncle’s funeral and look after his sick mother in the US.
According to a report by Sports5’s Carlo Pamintuan, who’s in Taiwan, Blatche left at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the eve of the Philippines’ opening game against host Chinese Taipei-A.
“We’ve been talking to Andray in the past couple of days and he’s been talking to his family. The situation is tough,” Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin told Sports5. “His mom is alone now. She lost her last sibling and Andray has been taking care of her in the last six months so he wanted to be with her.”
After drawing a bye in Day One of the tournament, Gilas faces a tough schedule ahead, playing for eight straight days. The team with the best record eventually wins the championship.
“It’s tough. But it doesn’t mean we can’t be human because situations are tough. There was no decision to be made. It was only a matter of timing for him and his family and when the funeral is going to be,” Baldwin said.
“He’ll be back with us towards the end of the week but effectively, he won’t be playing with us here. Maybe he could play in the last two games,” Baldwin added.
Taking Blatche’s place is Talk ’N Text rookie Moala Tautuaa, whose role really is to back the former NBA veteran up when unforeseen events like this happen.
Baldwin said Blatche’s absence would require everyone else in the team to step up.
“Everybody will have to step up. We’re not limited in people but just not in the level where Andray is.”