Andray Blatche unfazed of Australia side backstopped by Bucks duo
MANILA, Philippines – Australia proved to be Gilas Pilipinas' toughest test in the Asian Qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. But just when it seemed it couldn't get any harder, the Aussies further beefed up their roster with NBA cogs Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova.
Gilas' naturalized player Andray Blatche said, though, it is still up to the team if it will succumb to the Aussies' depth when the Philippines clashes with Australia in the 3rd window of the Qualifiers on July 2 at the Philippine Arena.
"Australia's already a tough team. They added two great talents, Thon Maker and Dellavedova," Blatche told reporters after watching PBA games on Wednesday, June 13.
"At the end of the day, we still have to come out and compete, hit our shots and play tough defense. So, it's going to be up to us to control the games here at home and to hype up the crowd."
The Nationals, who stand at second place in Group B with a 3-1 record, seek to avenge their 68-84 loss to Australia in the second window last Feb. 22.
It will be a tall order, however, with the arrival of the two Milwaukee Bucks players for the Aussies, who boast a 4-0 card.
Dellavedova, who averaged 4.3 points and 3.8 assists in the past NBA season, has made a name for himself as a pesky defender and a decent offensive contributor in his 5-year career. He also has NBA Finals experience with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Maker, meanwhile, is a 7-foot-1 behemoth who can hit the shot from deep and can protect the paint when needed.
Before facing Australia, Gilas needs to repeat on Chinese-Taipei on June 29 in Taiwan to bolster its bid for a second-round spot in the Qualifiers. – Rappler.com