Gilas patron on Blatche struggles: ‘I don’t think he was an asset to the team’
Andray Blatche comes up with double-digit rebounds but struggles to score and committed several turnovers in the first phase of the qualifiers. Jerome Ascano

ANDRAY Blatche's performance over the past few games was found wanting by some Gilas Pilipinas fans and Chooks To Go owner Ronald Mascarinas was no exception.

Though the Philippines swept the first two games of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, the naturalized big man averaged only 9.5 points, 13 rebounds and had six turnovers in their close wins against Japan and Chinese Taipei. 

That is why the Gilas benefactor did not hold back when assessing Blatche's impact to the team so far. 

"Si Blatche, he has to shape up," said Mascarinas of Blatche, who looked far from the dominant player that he was when he first played for the national team in Spain in 2014. 

"I don’t think, yung condition niya the last two games against Japan (and) against Taiwan, I don’t think he’s an asset to the team," Mascarinas added. 

"Ang laki ng deterioration, daming turnovers, pero I think it’s something the coaching staff should seriously look into."

Mascarinas also fired a warning to the team heading into their match against Australia next year.

Against Chinese Taipei, the Philippines struggled early - falling to a double-digit deficit in the first quarter before regaining their footing and taking control of the game in the final period.

For Mascarinas, it's something that the Philippines couldn't afford to do against the Aussies. 

"Kung ganun ang laro natin kanina, we don’t have a chance sa Australia. We should do much much better," he continued. "Perfect dapat ang execution natin so we have a chance against Australia."

Still, Mascarinas reiterated he has full trust in the team, particularly head coach Chot Reyes, to make the key adjustments moving forward.

After all, Gilas took care of the first two games and now it's all about being better in the future. 

"The team is in good hands. Alam ni coach Chot kung anong importanteng game na ipapanalo," Mascarinas said. 

"Yung mga natatalo tayo before, non-bearing naman. Sa FIBA Qualifiers, so far so good. Yung games na nagma-matter, naipanalo natin."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11