Andray Blatche still 'very much committed to Gilas,' says Chot Reyes 
Only a conflict in schedule between Gilas' tournaments and the Chinese pro league can stand in the way of Andray Blatche's return to the national team, says Chot Reyes. Jerome Ascano

ANDRAY Blatche is still the top priority of Gilas Pilipinas as its naturalized player for various tournaments the team will be competing in this year, including the FIBA Asia Cup.

National coach Chot Reyes said the former NBA player ‘remains committed’ to playing for Gilas following his last stint with the team during the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila six months ago.

Blatche, 30, is currently in China suiting up for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and the schedule of the league is the only hindrance Reyes sees as far as another stint with Gilas 5.0 is concerned.

“The only issue with Andray is his schedule in China. That’s really the only issue. But yes, he remains committed.”

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Reyes could only hope competition in the CBA would be over by the time the national team plays its first tournament together in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship in late April.

“Hopefully, the Seaba and other tournaments are not in conflict (with the CBA),” he said.

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But at the same time, the Gilas mentor pointed out the team is open to tapping other potential naturalized players in the future and not solely rely on the services of 6-foot-11 Blatche.

Reyes added his son Josh, who is part of the national team coaching staff, is currently in the US scouting other players who are willing to be naturalized.

“That’s not to say that we’re staying there (with Blatche), that’s why nasa Amerika si Josh,” Reyes disclosed. “We continuet o look for other naturalized players’ candidates.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos