'Nothing final yet' on Blatche's Gilas status, says Guiao
MANILA, Philippines – Whether Andray Blatche will play for Gilas Pilipinas in the sixth and final window of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup remains to be decided.
"Being considered but nothing final yet," national team coach Yeng Guiao told Rappler through text on Thursday, December 27, when asked about the former NBA player's status.
Blatche, through Theia Sports's Facebook page, bared that he will once again don the national colors in the sixth window in February against Qatar and Kazakhstan.
"It's confirmed! I'll be back to play for the Philippines in February! Can't wait to win these two games for the best fans in the world!" Blatche wrote.
After serving a three-game suspension from FIBA, the 6-foot-10 naturalized big man was already available to return in the fifth window but was left out of Guiao's 20-man pool.
Gilas dropped both of its home games against Kazakhstan and Iran and was dealt a huge blow in its chances of reaching the World Cup as it fell out of the top 3, which guarantees a berth in the World Cup.
Although saying that he was hurt by his non-inclusion in the fifth window, Blatche had expressed his desire to play for the Nationals again.
And according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, the federation is figuring things out with Blatche's side.
"Status is he is saying he is committed and we are working out matters with his agent," Panlilio told Rappler through text.
The Philippines, which is currently at 4th place in Group F behind a 5-5 card, must win its final two games to boost its chance of reaching the World Cup. – Rappler.com