With system ‘already in place,’ Blatche not considered for Gilas’ SEA Games roster
MANILA, Philippines–Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ president Al Panlilio said that many-time reinforcement Andray Blatche’s non-inclusion from the Gilas pool hinged on the decision to expedite the team’s preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“The core team is Ginebra, so the system is already there,” Panlilio explained to a handful of reporters on Thursday night at the PBA office in Libis.
“[Considering] the short preparation time … that’s what we’ll go on with,” he added.
Blatche, who was born in New York and was made naturalized citizen by President Aquino in June 2014, was part of the Gilas contingent that competed in the Philippines’ last two World Cup stints.
An NBA veteran who made eventually became an international journeyman, Blatche also served the Philippines in the SEABA Championship here in 2017, which featured teams budding national teams from across the region.
The 6-foot-11 big man, who helped steer the national five to a silver-medal finish in FIBA Asia in Changsha, China, was also the naturalized player of choice by both Chot Reyes and Yeng Guiao in the Philippines’ campaign in the World Cup qualifiers.
Cone, though, said Blatche didn’t crop up as an option during the formation of his talent pool for the biennial meet slated here later this year.
“That wasn’t discussed. That wasn’t offered to me. His name wasn’t brought up. I don’t know if I’m the one capable of answering that question,” he said.
“Coach Tim’s system is already in place,” Panlilio said. “And [the idea is] you augment it with other PBA players.”
“I know there’s always going to be questions of why wasn’t this guy, why wasn’t that guy. I can’t go through every reason,” Cone said. “But it’s always trying to find a balance in terms of position and trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together. That was what we tried to do with this list.”
“It was really looking for a versatile lineup,” he added.