BEIJING, China – Andray Blatche was a sight of sorrow as winning continued to elude Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
The Philippines remained without a victory in 4 games in the tournament, absorbing its third blowout loss in a 67-86 defeat to Tunisia in the classification round here on Friday, September 6.
"It's been a tough journey for all of us. Not just myself, my teammates, the fans who continue to support us, it's been tough for everybody," Blatche, his head bowed, told reporters here.
"To come here and not compete on the level that we know we're able to and get some wins or even to be in the game, it's frustrating."
Andray Blatche is downcast as Gilas Pilipinas remains winless in the FIBA World Cup. #FIBAWC #PilipinasGotGame #LabanPilipinas | @dioquinodelfin pic.twitter.com/baT1Mpb2mM — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) September 6, 2019
A win against Tunisia would have also given the Philippines a chance for the best Asian team honor in the World Cup – a feat that comes with an automatic berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But Tunisia had other plans as it built a 17-point lead after the opening quarter and pulled away for good.
If there was a bright spot in the 19-point loss, though, it would probably be Blatche, who seemed to have finally found the rhythm he had been looking for the past 3 games.
Blatche waxed hot for 14 of his 24 points in the final frame and had his way on the Tunisia defense with a number of three-pointers, dunks, and nifty dribble moves.
His resurgence will be crucial in Gilas Pilipinas' final World Cup game against Asian rival Iran at the Wukesong Center here on Sunday, September 8.
"We're going to continue on fighting and make our fans and families proud," Blatche said. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.