Chot Reyes tempers expectations but pleased with Blatche's shape: 'He looks fit, payat'
Andray Blatche arrived in the country Saturday night in shape for the third window of the FIBA World Cup qualifier. Marlo Cueto

CHOT Reyes was too pleased to see Andray Blatche and Calvin Abueva report for Gilas practice in only the second week of the national team’s training for the third window of the Fiba World Cup qualifier.

And it’s just but a bonus to see the two of them appear to be fit for the tough task ahead.

Reyes in particular singled out Blatche for coming over to the agreed schedule of arrival and not carrying with him unwanted pounds.

“He looks fit, payat,” said the Gilas coach of describing the talented naturalized player, who had a knack in the past of arriving in the country not exactly in the best playing shape.

Except for a two week vacation in the US to be with his son, the 30-year-old Blatche said he continues to work out and keep in shape for the June 29 to July 2 edition of the qualifier to be held in Taipeh and Bulacan, respectively.

Abueva, who showed up at the Meralco gym Monday night sporting a head band to partly cover his bald pate, also didn’t seem to have lost a step even after not practicing with his mother balllclub Alaska for more than a week.

But Reyes is tempering his expectations not unless Gilas finally practices as a complete unit on a daily basis. At the moment, the team trains weekly.

“It’s hard to tell if they’re in game shape,” said the national coach. “Makukuha ko yung mga players for full practice starting June 25.

“So we will only have four full practice bago kami maglaro on the 29th,” said Reyes, whose team faces Chinese Taipei on the said date before hosting powerhouse Australia at the Philippine Arena on July 2.

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