‘Plenty of time’ to get Andray Blatche into top shape for Fiba World Cup
MANILA, Philippines— Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao is confident naturalized center Andray Blatche will be in top shape once the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup begins in less than two months.
The 6-foot-11 center, who rejoined the team on Monday, is not in the shape that Guiao would like him to be, but the feisty mentor said Blatche has been putting in the extra work.
The versatile big man had a similar issue back in 2018 when he joined Gilas for the World Cup Asian Qualifiers, but Guiao is confident Blatche can shed off the extra inches just in time for China.
“We still need him to get to game shape but he’s been doing extra work. He’s been practicing by himself,” said Guiao on Thursday.
Blatche was visibly plump around the waist and midsection during the team’s training but he will be joining Rain or Shine and NLEX’s daily practices to help in getting him fit.
“He’s trying to get more practices with Rain or Shine and on Monday he’ll train with NLEX,” said Guiao. “So there’s plenty of time to get him into shape.”
Guiao is also unbothered with any chemistry issues since Blatche will be teaming up with familiar faces for the World Cup.
Most of the players in Gilas have already been teammates with Blatche with PBA rookies CJ Perez and Robert Bolick the only ones who haven’t shared an international court with the former Brooklyn Net.
“He won’t have any problem in terms of integration because he’s been here with almost 90 percent of the players so there’s no problem chemistry-wise,” said Blatche. “There’s also no problem with attitude because they all get along well.”
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