Seaba stint for Blatche?
In a bid to make sure it qualifies for the Fiba Asia tournament, Gilas Pilipinas will most likely play with Andray Blatche in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) championship in May.
The Philippines usually plays this regional competition with an all-Filipino crew—and has won it multiple times with rosters made up of collegiate standouts—but the coaching staff is not leaving anything to chance.
Blatche, who last saw action for the Philippines in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China, where the Filipinos finished second to the hosts, is currently in negotiations with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to finalize his Seaba stint.
“There’s a strong possibility,” Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said. “We need to come up with a strong statement in the Seaba. But until there’s a signature (of Blatche) on the dotted line, then we can’t say for certain.”
The Seaba will be held in Manila and playing with Blatche will definitely be a treat for Gilas’ home fans.
Gilas must win the event, slated May 16 to 21 at Smart Araneta Coliseum, to progress to the Asian qualifying proper.
Blatche is currently playing in the China Basketball Association but will be available April 19 at the latest, giving him ample practice time with the Nationals.
Meanwhile, the original 24-man pool of coach Chot Reyes will have two additional players in TNT KaTropa mainstays Troy Rosario and Mo Tautuaa when it goes on a three-day camp starting Monday at a still undisclosed location.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.