Andray Blatche to hit ground running upon arrival for Gilas preps

Gilas Pilipinas naturalized big man Andray Blatche is scheduled to arrive late Friday night.

While people wonder if the 6-foot-10 Blatche will be reporting for practice in good condition, coach Tab Baldwin intends to let the former Brooklyn Nets big man join practice on Sunday.

And like everybody else, Baldwin said he wants to see Blatche get into the flow of the team’s offense by next week.

“We wanna get Andray in and get him started and get him fluid on offense first,” Baldwin told FOX Sports on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Blatche had to skip the first week of Gilas’ training this month after attending to his ailing mother.

Blatche just finished his second season with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 23.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.0 block.

Baldwin said offense won’t be a problem for Gilas this time, given the wide array of shooters the national pool has.

But then again, the American-Kiwi coach intends to work the team’s defensive schemes with Blatche set to come on board.

“I would say toward the end of next week and heading into the camp in Europe, we’ll be doing that (work on defense),” Baldwin added.

The 58-year-old Baldwin is hopeful that this year’s Gilas version would be dedicated on defense, something that was well noted from last year’s version of the national team that placed 2nd in the William Jones Cup and Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa, China.

“Still, defensively, we gotta be good, that’s where last year’s team was pretty tough,” he said. “They had great commitment defensively on the floor. We haven’t stated defensively but when we do, we have to see that.”

Gilas takes a day off on Friday before returning to practice on Saturday at the posh Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig. — By Richard Dy

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