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    SBP weighs in on Gilas performance in OQT, but affirms Andray Blatche service 'always an option' 

    Jul 10, 2016
    Andray Blatche takes on four members of France team during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila. Jerome Ascano

    THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will assess the fate of Gilas Pilipinas, including the status of naturalized player Anday Blatche, once the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila is over.

    SBP vice president Al Panlilio said everything will be evaluated within the team in the aftermath of its early ouster in the meet that offers a ticket to the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

    The tournament ended Sunday night.

    Focus of interest though will be on the 6-foot-11 Blatche, whose status remains up in the air especially with cadet players expected to form and make up the new batch of Gilas team which will play in a series of qualifiers starting next year for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

    The contract of the former NBA player with Gilas is per tournament, the latest of which ended shortly after the team failed to advance past the preliminary of the qualifiers.

    “When he left shortly after we lost, he said he’ll try it out in the NBA Summer league. He’s an NBA caliber player. So we’ll assess everything. Andray will always be an option,” said Panlilio.

    Blatche led Gilas in scoring (25.5 points) and rebounding (7.5) in the two games he played in the qualifiers, including 30 in an 89-80 loss to New Zealand that knocked off the host in the running for a berth in the Rio Olympics.

    He earlier scored 21 points in the team’s 93-84 setback against France.

    Panlilio though refused to point a finger on the Gilas big man for the team’s early exit.

    Continue reading below ↓

    “I don’t think he’s the very reason why we lost,” said Panlilio. “As I’ve said, this is a journey for us. Part of the reason we lost is we didn’t get enough training at a very high level. I think the Filipino fans, while it’s a treat to all of them seeing these world class basketball players, they also saw how hard it is to compete at this level.”

    The SBP official however, said the evaluation to be done is a natural process for the country’s national federation after every major international competition where the national team saw action.

    “We haven’t sat down, but will meet soon with other SBP officials,” said Panlilio.

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    Andray Blatche takes on four members of France team during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila. Jerome Ascano
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