Will Andray Blatche actually play for Gilas Pilipinas again?
Paul Lintag on Sep 01, 2017 01:23 PM
The Andray Blatche situation remains uncertain at best.
It looks like Gilas Pilipinas might be forced to go true All-Filipino for the start of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers later this year.
That's because the Andray Blatche situation remains uncertain at best.
During the official homecoming of the Chooks-Gilas crew from the 2017 Southeast Asian Games Thursday, national team head coach Chot Reyes talked about the difficulties of bringing back Blatche as Gilas starts its home-and-away campaign on November.
Reyes described the situation with the former Brooklyn Net as "fluid."
"It's a very difficult situation with the home-and-away eh unlike previous tournaments when it was very specific," he said.
"We talk to a guy like Andray Blatche, we have contract negotiations and you know that he plays for one week or two weeks. But with the current format, home-and-away, we're gonna play two games in November and then the next time is February. So how are we going to approach that? We're gonna pay him by the game, by the week? It's a very difficult situation," Reyes added.
Aside from the obvious contract talks, schedule remains a big issue with regards to the status of Blatche.
Andray now plays pro ball in the Chinese Basketball League and its season usually starts every November. The same way in the PBA with the local Gilas players, Blatche's release from his mother team is always a concern.
"There is a complication with Andray Blatche because by November, he's going to be playing for his Chinese team, and obviously China will be one of the teams we'll be facing in the home-and-away, maybe not in the first round but somewhere down the road. We don't know if they're going to allow Andray to play," Reyes said.
Of course, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas could just find a replacement for Andray especially since Blatche is starting to get older anyway.
The SBP is doing just that although again, finding a new naturalized player that will fit Gilas Pilipinas is easier said that done.
"Obviously, another way is to hire a full-time naturalized player who will be here with us day-in, day-out for good. But then, that's very costly and if you are a legitimate professional player with offers to play in Europe, Asia, and South America, why are you going to do that and stay idle the rest of the time?" Reyes said.
"The back up is we are talking to several other prospects but as you know, that's not easy because we have to go through Congress, we have to agree to a contract. So dun sa mga nagsasabi na napaka-hina namin at hindi namin magawan ng paraan to, I hope you appreciate the problem and how difficult it is. It's not a question of finding some guy and say eto na maglaro ka na dito, ang daming pagdadaanan," he added.
Regardless, Andray Blatche remains as the first option for Gilas Pilipinas when it comes to its naturalized player.
However, with everything going on, the Philippines might be forced to go true All-Filipino as it starts its journey back to the World Cup, for better or for worse.
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