Andray Blatche handlers assure he'll be in 'better shape' for next Gilas mission
Gilas team manager Butch Antonio says money wasn't an issue in the negotiations that led to the re-signing of naturalized player Andray Blatche. Jaime Campos

IT seems money wasn’t an issue as far as the re-signing of Andray Blatche with Gilas Pilipinas is concerned.

Asked how expensive it was to secure the services of the national team’s naturalized center once again, team manager Butch Antonio declined to state specifics, but said they didn’t have a hard time signing him.

“Let’s not get into the details of it, but I think it was fair,” Antonio said after practice on Monday, hours after confirming Blatche agreed to a new deal. “When we came to terms, it was just a formality. It wasn’t that difficult.”

“All parties were amenable and cooperative with everything from terms of the contract to the duration,” he added.

“I’m really glad it’s over and done with. Andray is really on board already and we’re just looking forward to have him joining the team in May.”

[See Blatche agrees deal to lead Gilas quest in Manila Olympic qualifier]

Antonio even said the former NBA player could arrive earlier than expected than May 15 if national coach Tab Baldwin feels the need to.

“Andray has always been waiting for a chance to play for Gilas again,” the concurrent deputy executive director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas said. “I think he’ll be ready and he’ll be more than willing to make the necessary adjustments if he has to as far as schedule is concerned.”

Antonio hopes Blatche will arrive in better shape than when he came in last time before the Fiba Asia Championship.

“That has always been brought up during the discussion with Andray’s handlers,” he said. “They say that he’ll be training from now until May in the States. Hopefully he’ll be better (in shape).”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos