MANILA, Philippines – Andray Blatche scored 13 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and passed out 5 assists with his biggest fan watching from the stands: his mom.
The 53-year-old Angela Oliver flew all the way here from the US to support her son at the 2017 SEABA Championships. And in doing so mother and son were also able to spend Mother's Day together on Sunday, May 14.
"This is the first year I've seen him play and being here in the Philippines so it was great," she said. "I am having such a wonderful time, the country is beautiful, the people are beautiful, I love it."
Blatche's mother being here is particularly special after winning her battle against cancer in recent years. Blatche fought that battle as well, having to play for the Philippines and be away from his ailing mother several times.
"He loves me to death, he's my firstborn, so we're friends but he doesn't forget about the parenting either. We're great best friends," Oliver said of her relationship with her son before expressing her gratitude to Filipinos for keeping her in their thoughts.
"I'm feeling better and I believe all the prayers Filipinos put up for me, I appreciate it, I love it, thank you so much."
It's a special time for both as Oliver will also celebrate her birthday next week, as Gilas wraps up the tournament.
Oliver has so far been impressed with Gilas Pilipinas' play after 3 straight blowout victories in a tournament they are highly favored to win.
"I'm excited with how they are playing, it's so much fun to see how athletic they are, and jumping, it's great," she said before describing her son's competitive spirit.
"Aggressive, hates to lose, loves the game of basketball, loves teaching the game of basketball, big heart, he's a brand new father so he's got his son in the middle of his hand. He's a great baby."
Oliver will be returning to South Carolina after the tournament while Blatche is set for Atlanta to be with his newborn son, Andray Jr. Oliver expects to watch her son and the Philippines again in the FIBA Asia Cup to be played in Lebanon this August, should Gilas qualify. – Rappler.com