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Embattled Blatche redeems self in PH win over Japan

/ 10:45 PM February 25, 2018

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net

Under scrutiny for the better part of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers, Andray Blatche could only scream in jubilation following Gilas Pilipinas’ 89-84 victory over Japan on Sunday.

And he has every reason to as the naturalized player felt the weight of the world finally lifted off of his shoulders.

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“It felt great,” he admitted. “To advance and definitely for being bashed in the last 36 to 48 hours, to just to get a win and get some of it off my shoulders, just to know I was able to help us get to the second round, it felt really great.”

Blatche showed his worth and recorded his best game to date in the Asian qualifiers, recording 18 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block to steer the home team to the second round.

Making good music again with his peers, the 31-year-old big man was elated to have had his first pair of games in this window after playing through a hamstring injury.

“For me, it actually feels great to get this win and play sort of well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been playing on the court and it’s just my second game since the first window,” he said. “It was all about trusting my injury. I left it alone and said forget it. If I hurt myself, I hurt myself. It’s about confidence. But this is big for us to advance in the second round.”

But as always, Blatche knows that he could perform better, making him all the more excited for the third window in June.

“This sort of made up for my bad performance, but I feel like I could do a lot better. It’s a rhythm thing, I’m starting to get my rhythm back, starting to get my legs back,” he said.

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And this time, Blatche is more ready to face all the criticisms as he opted to rather focus on the things he can control.

“I’m sure they’re going to find something else. But you know, all I can do is to continue getting better and stay focused,” he said.

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TAGS: 2019 Fiba World Cup, 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers, Andray Blatche, Gilas Pilipinas
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