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    Blatche says he and 'bad boyz' Romeo, Abueva ready to answer PH call

    Dec 4, 2018

    IT seems like Andray Blatche has let bygones be bygones as he once again indicated his willingness to represent the Philippines in international competitions.

    The 32-year-old slotman once again took to Instagram on Tuesday, uploading a poster of him, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and Calvin Abueva wearing their national team gears on Tuesday and writing, "3 of us are missing I'm sure they ready as well let's do wats need to be done 'the bad boyz.'"

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    Of the four, only Castro got an invite to coach Yeng Guiao's 20-man pool for the fifth window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers and he responded by pouring in 19 points, five rebounds and two assists in the Philippines' 78-70 loss to Iran on Monday.

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    There's a clamor for the return of Blatche to Team Pilipinas, the calls mounting after the squad went 0-2 in its homestand over the weekend and fell to fourth place in Group F with its 5-5 card, behind Australia (9-1), Iran (7-3), and Japan (6-4).

    The Syracuse-born Blatche, together with Romeo and Castro, have served their three-game ban for their role in the July brawl against Australia. Romeo and Blatche weren't able to get an invite for this specific window.

    Meanwhile, Abueva is out of the Asian qualifiers as he serves his six-game suspension.

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      However, Guiao has repeatedly said that he's open to calling Blatche back for the sixth and final window of qualifiers in February, though the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has yet to make a concrete decision on what to do next.

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      Blatche has averaged 11.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his six games in the qualifiers, though he looked far from his peak form in his run in the first round.

      Reports claim the 6-foot-11 center has worked his way back to shape, even declining an offer to go back to the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) just to put his full focus on national team duty.

      In Blatche's place, the Philippines has utilized Fil-foreigners Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle as the team's naturalized players in the past two window of competitions.

      Team Pilipinas needs to sweep the sixth window in February against Qatar and Kazakhstan to have at least a chance to secure a World Cup berth.

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