Blatche heard the bashers so he bounced back big time for Gilas
Paul Lintag on Feb 25, 2018 10:46 PM
Andray Blatche is back in business.
MANILA, Philippines --- Andray Blatche has been subject of criticism for his continued struggles in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifers.
Well, he heard all of those and responded Sunday with his best game so far for Gilas Pilipinas, leading the Philippines to a pulsating 89-84 win over the visiting Japanese at the MOA Arena here.
Blatche submitted his finest performance of these Asian Qualifiers so far, going for a team-high 18 points on top of 16 rebounds and five assists.
The naturalized Filipino was emotional after a game, letting out a passionate roar at midcourt as the Philippines defended homecourt anew.
Gilas is also through to the next round of the Qualifiers with the win.
"It felt great. To advance, and definitely for being bashed the last 36-48 hours, [it felt great] just to get a win and get some of it off my shoulders," he said.
"[It felt great] just to know I was able to help us get to the second round," Blatche added.
Blatche has been through a tough stretch for the Philippines. In the opening window back in February, an out-of-shape Blatche played his worst game in a Pilipinas jersey against Taipei.
This time around, Blatche is in better shape but is coming off an injury. The two games against Australia and Japan were his first pair of acutal in-game action since last year.
"It feels great. For me, it actually feels great to get this win and play sort of well," he said.
"t's been a long time since I've been playing on the court, just my second game since the first [window]. But this big for us to advance in the second round, I'm about to go back to China and start the [CBA] playoffs," Blatche added.
With a better performance this time out, Blatche is not overly concerned about his critics. He says they'll find new ways to bash him.
However, he's concerned about getting better for Gilas and the third window plust the second round of the Qualifiers will be the perfect place for him to once again prove that the trust placed on him is worth it.
"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. It was for of me trusting my injury, I left it alone and said forget it, if I hurt mysef I hurt myself. It's about confidence," he said.
" I'm sure they're [bashers] going to find something else. But you know, all I can do is to continue getting better, stay focused," Blatce added.
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