2016 Rio Olympics

FIBA News: Ex-NBA player Andray Blatche to join Philippines NT practices late May as team prepares for Olympic Qualifiers in Manila

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Blatch (Photo courtesy: Leo Hidalgo/Wikimedia Commons)

Andray Blatche is set to join the Philippines basketball national team training and practices about one month and a half before the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in Manila in July. Blatche, a former NBA player and the naturalized player for the Philippines, was supposed to join the team in the middle of May but had to attend to personal reasons in the United States.

A respected journalist in the Philippines, Joaquin Henson, posted on his Instagram page about the Andray Blatche updates:

“Take a look at Andray Blatche! Slim, fit and ready to rock for Gilas … he’s arriving Manila on May 27.” Henson wrote on social media.

“Dray would’ve flown in May 15 but his mom is undergoing surgery May 24 in South Carolina so he’s staying to be with her … his mom celebrated her birthday the other day and Dray surprised her with a 2016 Escalade!!!”

Andray Blatche joined the Philippines basketball national team in January 2014 and first played for the team in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, where the Asian team performed well. He also represented the Philippines at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship where the team finished with the silver medal to qualify in the Olympic Qualifiers this year.

“Dray will fly out of Atlanta … to keep in shape, Dray has been running 10 miles up and down Stone Mountain every other morning, swims, works out, does basketball drills and eats healthy … Dray said he’s got a good feeling Gilas will win the FIBA Olympic qualifier,” Henson added in his post.

“I think this will be our year, he said … Dray said his only focus is Gilas and he’s committed to the Philippines, the Filipino people, the fans and the Gilas program … he said he can’t wait to start practice with coach Tab and his Gilas teammates.”

Andray Blatche was a promising player in the NBA though he was never a star player in the pro league. He played for the Washington Wizards from 2005 to 20012 and for the Brooklyn Nets from 2012 to 2014. He is a member of the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese league.

The Philippines will take on France and New Zealand in the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in the group stages of the tournament scheduled from July 5 to 10 later this year. Only the champion will advance to the Olympic basketball tournament in Rio Olympics in August.

Photo courtesy: Leo Hidalgo/Wikimedia Commons

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