ANDRAY Blatche allayed fears of suffering a major injury even as he skipped Gilas Pilipinas practice on Saturday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The naturalized Filipino slotman did some shooting, but mostly rested his left ankle that he tweaked in the fourth quarter of their 84-76 loss to Turkey in their tune-up game on Friday.
Blatche, who returned to finish the game against the Turkish, assured he will return to training on Sunday.
“It’s (the ankle's) better,” the NBA veteran said as he walked to the team bus without limping. “It’s still a little sore, but I should be ready to get back to practice tomorrow.”
Blatche had the luxury to rest his ankle as Gilas shifted its practice into low gear on Saturday, spending most of the time in the viewing room to study the plays of France, its first opponent in the Olympic Qualifiers on Tuesday.
“Today was more of a mental practice for us to see what we like to do,” Blatche said. “We watched film, so tomorrow we’re going to go live and go over our plays.”
However, Blatche found no consolation in their close loss to Turkey – an improvement from their 35-point beating at the hands of the same team two weeks ago in Istanbul.
“No (close loss to Turkey was hardly encouraging), because we didn’t win,” he said. “We got better. We’re a better team from the first time we played them, but I don’t want us to be happy or excited because we played better.
“The main goal is to win. But we’re getting better. We’re starting to execute and trust each other better,” he added.