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    Andray Blatche commitment to Gilas for World Cup qualifiers still uncertain owing to revised format

    May 18, 2017
    Andray Blatche celebrates after Gilas' six-game unbeaten run to the Seaba title. Jerome Ascano

    A FRESH round of talks is expected between Gilas Pilipinas and the camp of Andray Blatche to ascertain his commitment to future national team endeavors.

    Chot Reyes admitted Gilas’ discussion with Blatche’s camp was limited to the team’s campaign in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship since there was no guarantee about the outcome of the qualifier for both the Fiba World Cup qualifiers and the Asia Cup.

    “We purposely kept the discussion with Andray on the Seaba thing, kasi kung di natin maipapanalo ito, wala kaming pag-uusapan,” said Reyes after Gilas completed a six-game sweep of the week-long meet with a 97-64 romp over Indonesia on Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    “But now that we’ve won this thing, we have to sit down and figure out his schedule.”

    On the horizon for Gilas is the Fiba World Cup qualifiers, Fiba Asia Cup, the Southeast Asian Games, and Jones Cup. Of the four, the qualifier for the world championship is definitely on top of the team’s priority since it serves as a window for a possible return trip to the 2019 Fiba World Cup.

    [See Jalalon bound to be a 'special player for Gilas program,' says Chot Reyes

    Reyes’ concern however, has something to do with Blatche’s schedule and contract obligation with his mother ballclub in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

    “He has obligations in China in the CBA, so we really don’t know kung ano ang mangyayari,” said the Gilas mentor.

    Continue reading below ↓

    The revised format enforced by Fiba for the World Cup – a home-and-away tournament – has muddled the playing schedule not only of the PBA and NBA, but practically, all the international leagues around the world.

    The change in schedule has also affected the CBA, so much so that Reyes disclosed the Chinese had to form two national teams in order to adjust to the windows of the world qualifiers.

    “So we didn’t know how that will affect Andray’s schedule,” stressed the Gilas mentor.

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    Andray Blatche celebrates after Gilas' six-game unbeaten run to the Seaba title. Jerome Ascano
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