CHANGSHA, China – In as much as Gilas Pilipinas would want to savor its huge win over defending champion Iran in the Fiba Asia Championship on Monday, Andray Blatche refused to get carried away and was quick to focus on the team’s next assignment.
The 6-foot-11 NBA veteran was quick to put behind him an 18-point, seven-rebound performance in the Filipinos’ stunning 87-73 reversal against the previously unbeaten Iranians, turning his focus to the match against India on Monday when the Philippines ends its second-round preliminary campaign.
“It always feels good when you get a win. But the most important thing is not to get too hot, stay focused, and beat India,” said Blatche, who still feels a little sore a day after spraining his right ankle in Gilas’ win over Japan.
It was the first time Blatche faced Haddadi as Gilas’ naturalized player, but refused to categorically say he outplayed his fellow former NBA player in their supposed head-to-head match-up.
“I’ve always been aggressive attacking the basket. We had a great rotation on defense,” said Blatche about his frontcourt duel with the 7-foot-2 Iranian, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out late in the final period.
“I’ve played against Haddadi in the NBA, I played against Haddadi in China. So this is not in one way a statement (game),” added the former Brooklyn Nets big man, who now plies his ware here in China along with Haddadi.
Besides, the win over Iran is just one game, according to Blatche.
“This is not the hard (worry) of this tournament. The hard worry is winning the gold,” he said.
See video of Spin.ph interview with Blatche: