THERE was a concern about the cold weather in Kazakhstan ahead of Team Pilipinas' final game in the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
It turned out to be a non-factor.
In fact, national head coach Yeng Guiao said the players got to enjoy the cold weather in Kazakhstan, particularly the presence of snow in Astana.
“We don’t have snow in the Philippines. We are just enjoying the cold weather,” said Guiao, who initially had apprehensions about the cold conditions in Astana.
Temperatures reached as low as -16 degrees Celsius in Astana during the few days that Team Pilipinas was in the Kazakhstan capital.
But the cold weather hardly mattered as the Philippine squad waxed hot all game long to deal the home side a 93-75 beating and book a ticket to the World Cup.
Andray Blatche, who poured in 41 points in the huge win, was the least bothered, for obvious reasons.
“I was born and raised in Syracuse, New York so very similar to back home,” said Blatche, who is also a fixture in China's domestic league with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers and the Tianjin Gold Lions.
“I just came from China where it is very cold also. I also played for five years in Urumqi (region where Xinjiang Flying Tigers are based). That’s not too far from here. I was able to adjust easily,” said Blatche.
But memorable as the stay has been for Guiao and Co., the team can't wait to go home.
“It’s a good thing that we are coming back to the tropical weather. But from the time we are here, we were just enjoying the weather. It’s different.”