ANDRAY Blatche as he vows to give it his all and help the Philippines advance to the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
The 32-year-old center admitted that he was disappointed being left out of the pool in the fifth window of the Asian qualifiers late last year.
"It was tough for me, very tough for me," he said on Saturday after missing the opportunity to play in the home game against Iran last December 3, which would have been his first since serving his three-game ban from the now-infamous brawl against Australia.
"I've been part of this team from the wins and from the losses to not have the opportunity to go again in the last pool, it was frustrating. But I still rooted for the guys and wished them for the best."
Blatche said that it ate him alive not being able to help Gilas Pilipinas defend the home court in its homestand.
"When we ended up losing the two, I realized what kind of predicament we were in. I was upset because I felt like I could have contributed to the team," he rued.
Now Blatche gets his chance to make up for lost time with the Philippines bracing for must-win games in the sixth and final window, meeting Qatar in Doha on Feb. 21 before flying for Astana to take on Kazakhstan on Feb. 24.
"I'm very confident against Qatar and Kazakhstan," said Blatche, who expressed satisfaction with the new system coach Yeng Guiao is implementing.
"The thing about the system that I like the most is playing off instinct. It puts you in positions where you have to make a choice, so it's not like the plays are super complicated where I'll be on the court and I'll be like, 'What do I do next?' It's not like that," he said. "The plays are very simple, and playing off instinct, and playing off chemistry with your teammates."
Blatche acknowledges the uphill climb Gilas has this February window in its quest to lock up a ticket to the World Cup.
But rather than guaranteeing anything, all he could vow on is: "I'll do my part. That's all I can say. I'll do my part and try to help the team win."