Filipino fans can now heave a sigh of relief as Gilas naturalized big man Andray Blatche’s ankle injury is only a minor one.
Blatche, who was seen limping in the fourth quarter of their 84-76 loss to Turkey on Friday night, said that he just rested his ankle and will return to action on Sunday’s practice.
“[It’s] still a little sore, but I shouldn’t be worried. Ill get back in action in practice tomorrow,” said Blatche after their Saturday afternoon film viewing and drills session at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After Gilas went through the tapes, Blatche participated in minimal shooting in their closed-door practice.
Blatche and his Gilas teammates took time to observe their intimidating foes, especially France, which will be their first assignment in the qualifier.
“We’re preparing. We’re doing personnel, we’re going to watch how France plays and today was more of a mental practice to us so we can see what they like to do,” he said. “Tomorrow we’re going more live and gonna play more.”
Blatche showed in Turkey rematch that he’s back in his 2014 World Cup form as he scattered 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block.
While he had a fine all-around game, Blatche remained unsatisfied until they deliver the W’s in the FIBA Olympic qualifier.
“No [I’m not yet satisfied] because we didn’t win but I can say we get better, we’re a better team than the first time we meet them [Turkey],” said the 6-11 forward-center.
“But I don’t want us to be happy or excited because we play better but we didn’t win,” he quickly added.
After having a good gauge of where they are now, Blatche feels confident that they are up to the daunting task of winning 4 in a row against world-class teams next week to qualify to Rio Olympics.
The big turnaround from 35-point loss in Istanbul to just an 8-point loss at home, Blatche saw positives that they can build on as a team.
“The main goal is to win but we’re starting to get better, we’re starting to execute, we trust one another,” he stressed. – By Jason Mercene
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