FIBA: Blatche, Gilas going all-in in first World Cup game vs. Italy

Paul Lintag on Aug 03, 2019 09:06 PM
FIBA: Blatche, Gilas going all-in in first game vs. Italy
“Our first game is against Italy, right? Our goal is to come in and win that game right there and take the momentum going on to the next two,” — Andray Blatche. (Photo by Josh Albelda)

When Andray Blatche debuted for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, the national team had several chances to score a breakthrough win, starting with the opening game against Croatia.

The Philippines ended up losing that game in overtime.

Gilas then suffered heartbreaking losses to Argentina and then Puerto Rico before eventually getting that first win with an overtime decision against Senegal.

While that was a historic win, it wasn’t enough to push the Philippines to the next round.

With a second straight World Cup appearance coming up, that’s been the goal for Gilas Pilipinas pretty much: get to the next round.

Five years older and better, Blatche hopes to do just that this time.

“I’ve been here before. Me and a couple guys have been here before. We know what it takes. I’m quite sure myself and Gabe [Norwood] and all the other guys who have been there learned from our mistakes last time on how to close in the fourth quarter and the last couple of minutes.” Blatche said.

“We know how each possession counts and how to close the games in the fourth quarter,” he added.

With a shorter first round this time, Blatche points to the opening game against Italy that’s a crucial part in Gilas’ plans of advancing.

Take a win on the tournament’s first day and a lot of ways are suddenly available to take.

Gilas Pilipinas is definitely going all-in for their first game against the Italians.

“Our first game is against Italy, right? Our goal is to come in and win that game right there and take the momentum going on to the next two,” Blatche said.

“Serbia is going to be a tough team for us to compete against, size-wise. Anything can happen if we hit our shots,” he added.

 

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