"A lot of reason" why Andray Blatche can't join Gilas Pilipinas for FIBA Asia
Paul Lintag on Jul 26, 2017 12:47 PM
Is this the last image of Andray Blatche in a Gilas Pilipinas uniform?
In a surprising development, Andray Blatche did not make the final cut in the Gilas Pilipinas team that will be sent to Lebanon next month for the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup.
National team head coach Chot Reyes released the final 12 on Tuesday and the 6'11" former NBA player was nowhere to be found. Taking Blatche's place in Gilas was Fil-German Christian Standhardinger who is listed as a naturalized player according to FIBA.
Blatche has reinforced the Philippines since the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Most recently, he was in Manila to power Gilas to a dominant title run in the 2017 SEABA Championships as the national team qualified for the Asian tournament in Beirut.
Although no exact reason was given out yet for Blatche's absence, several reports surfaced early this week said that the current Chinese Basketball Association star is concerned about the security in Lebanon.
For his part, Blatche did speak on the matter via his Instagram account early Wednesday morning saying "it's a lot of reason why I can't join and I don't expect for many people to understand."
Despite his absence, Blatche sent out his well wishes to the Gilas team led by Jayson Castro and June Mar Fajardo.
"I will always be very thankful for the opportunity, the love, and the support I have received from my Filipino family," he said.
"I do wish my brothers the best of luck," Blatche added.
Reyes re-posted the same Instagram post, adding that the national team will have some huge shoes to fill without Andray.
For the first time since 2009, the Philippines will technically have an All-Filipino lineup for the FIBA-Asia tournament.
Aside from Castro, Fajardo, and Standhardinger, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Jio Jalalon, Matthew Wright, RR Pogoy, and Carl Bryan Cruz are also in the lineup.
The 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup will run from August 8-20. The Philippines won silver during the 2013 and 2015 editions of the tournament.
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