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Blatche back in PH as Gilas prepares for crucial games vs Qatar, Kazakhstan


Miles Morales

Andray Blatche couldn’t hide his excitement as he represents the country once more and help the Philippines in its quest to book a return trip to the Fiba World Cup in China.

The former NBA veteran arrived in the country late Friday night and wasted no time buckling down to work as he joined the national team on a shootaround on Saturday morning to familiariaze himself with coach Yeng Guiao’s system at the Meralco Gym.

The 32-year-old naturalized Filipino only has until Feb. 10 to train with Gilas Pilipinas before going back to China to rejoin his Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) squad Tianjin Gold Lions.

“Coming back here has always been about family. I love each and every one of these guys on and off the court and I can’t wait to see all of them,” Blatche said.

On Monday, Blatche will have his first practice with the whole national squad

“I’m aware about the situation, but we’re just gonna go and take care of business. Our offense is always gonna flow. It’s more about stopping the other team,” he said. “As long as we go out there prepared, and play our game, I’m very confident.”

Gilas will face Qatar and Kazahkstan this month in the crucial window of the qualifiers.