Andray Blatche had a huge smile for the entire two-hour practice of Mighty Sports in Greenhills West, Tuesday morning. Home sweet home, indeed.
“It’s always great to be back.
“I love it here for years. I love the support of the fans and the love I get,” the 33-year-old shared.
The naturalized Filipino will once again have the Philippine flag on his jersey. But it won’t be Gilas Pilipinas’ kits.
Instead, he joins the Philippine-based club for the upcoming 2020 Dubai Basketball Championship, which takes place from January 23 to February 1 at the Shabab Al Ahli Club.
And the 6-foot-11 ex-NBAer did not hesitate to say yes to the Alex Wongchuking-owned squad when they invited him to join them.
“Absolutely not. No hesitation. I didn’t say no. I was excited.”
For now, this campaign is the only Philippine team Blatche will join this year. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, through its president Al Panlilio, has said that they won’t be bringing Blatche back for the Gilas program.
Still, in this sport, it’s never say never. And Blatche proudly said that he will be ready if ever a call-up comes.
“Definitely. A hundred-percent I’ll be here.”
Come the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers next month, Blatche will just be like everyone else — a spectator for the new batch of Gilas Pilipinas. Having been with the national team since 2015, the New York-born cager can’t wait to see the young squad take on the floor… Just like everyone else.
“I’m excited for it, anything to do with the Philippine flag.”