Chot Reyes says Blatche apologetic after 'worst' game for Gilas, keeps faith in naturalized player
Andray Blatche may have struggled but Gilas coach Chot Reyes insists he's still the right naturalized player for the Philippine team. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes stuck to the positives of Andray Blatche’s sluggish showing for the national team in the 90-83 win over Chinese Taipei in the Fiba World Cup qualifiers.

Blatche contributed just six points on 2-of-9 shooting and committed six turnovers on Monday, but made up for it with14 rebounds, five blocks, three assists, and one steal in 28 minutes.

While acknowledging his naturalized player’s performance left much to be desired, Reyes believes Blatche’s won’t get any worse.

“Well, he apologized personally for the team after the game at the dugout tonight,” Reyes said. “I think we've seen the worst of Andray's games.”

“But hopefully, you know in the next window, he's gonna be in better basketball shape,” he was quick to add of the 31-year-old former NBA player. “He would have been playing for a couple of months in China, so that should be able to help.”

Getting him to practice with Gilas for more than five days – like the case this time – also helps.

“It's really hard, hindi naka-tono, he's not in synch with our little counters, the little things that we do,” Reyes admitted. “We can't teach everything in five days. You might be able to teach everything but to actually practice it, run it, make it instinct, you can't get that in five days.

Still, Reyes believes the versatile 6-foot-11 slotman is the right naturalized player for the job.

“We're not too worried,” Reyes said. “We'd still rather have Andray than not have him, especially when we play the big teams. We'd still rather have Andray at this point.”

“So you know, the second window is another thing. The first window is over, the second window is another ball game altogether,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos