ANDRAY Blatche hopes to have old teammates from the 2014 Fiba World Cup back in the lineup, while calling on the new Gilas Pilipinas callups to step up for the 2015 Fiba-Asia Championship.
Blatche said he has heard about the situation regarding player availability, and had been wanting to see June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, LA Tenorio and Paul Lee as he arrived on Sunday.
“I heard a lot when I got here,” Blatche said.
“June Mar, I was also looking for Paul Lee. LA, haven’t seen him. And Ping. My prayers go out to them whatever the situation is.”
“If I like them back? Yes. I played with them before.”
“But right now, we have to focus on the guys that are here right now,” he added.
Fajardo, Pingris, and Tenorio are part of the 16-man pool of head coach Tab Baldwin for the 2015 Fiba-Asia Championship although they are still unavailable at the moment.
Fajardo is recovering from plantar fasciitis on both feet, Tenorio cited fatigue and poor play in ruling himself out of consideration for Gilas, while Pingris is currently in France to grieve for the death of his stepmother’s mother.
“Whatever the situation is that we can’t have them here, my prayers are out to them and to their families. Other players have to step up,” said Blatche.
Blatche has noticeably gained weight since the time he played for the Philippines in the 2014 Fiba World Cup. He played for Xianjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association but its season ended in February.
But Blatche assured he will be back in shape, using this month of August to shed weight to be ready for the 2015 Fiba-Asia Championship on September 23 to October 3.