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Tiebreaker Times

2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

Andray Blatche’s ‘tampo’ a thing of the past now, says Yeng Guiao

It’s no secret that Andray Blatche was upset when his name wasn’t included in the Gilas Pilipinas pool made for the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last December. He even took to social media to express as much.

But that is now a thing of the past.

National team head coach Yeng Guiao said that he felt no ill feelings from Blatche when they met for the first time on Friday night when the naturalized 6-foot-11 center arrived in the country from China.

“We didn’t even discuss that because I didn’t even feel it. ‘Di ko naramdaman na may tampo siya or it’s an issue. I think we’re all professionals,” said Guiao during Blatche’s shootaround at the Meralco Gym, Saturday morning.

“And that’s something that siguro, it’s better left from the judgment of everyone kasi kung papansinin o pag-uusapan pa natin, it might just be a distraction. It’s not going to help. That’s been processed anyway.”

In fact, Guiao even earned an assurance from Blatche that he’ll do his very best in the sixth window to help the Filipino dribblers. Gilas’ World Cup hopes have taken a hit following the disappointing 0-2 result of the fifth window.

“We talked last night over dinner when he arrived and he understands the urgency of the situation,” said the veteran bench strategist.

“He gave me the assurance that he will do his best to get us in the World Cup.”

Guiao also liked the shape Blatche is in. Currently, the former NBA veteran plays as a reinforcement for the Tianjin Gold Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association. But Guiao added that they could still get him into much better form.

#ReadMore  Raymond Almazan sits out final SMART Gilas practice

The team has therefore devised a plan made especially for Blatche during his days-long stay here – he has to return to Tianjin on February 10 – and that includes joining Guiao’s NLEX Road Warriors’ practices.

“I think he’s in decent shape just by looking at him… Visually, he’s okay. I see him workout with his shooting drills, he’s really skilled. The skills that he has are tailor-made for the system that we run. That’s good news for us,” Guiao said.

“Ang ano ko lang… I think we can get him in better shape in the next few days. He’s playing in China, but the problem there is they have rules on imports na hindi sila makalaro ng sabay for two quarters,” added Guiao.

“He has to play extended minutes with Gilas and we have to put him in better shape. That’s why he’ll practice everyday if not with Gilas, with NLEX.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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