GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin is convinced Andray Blatche is in good shape after seeing the naturalized Filipino in his second day of practice with the national team on Sunday morning.
Baldwin said he has no doubts about Blatche’s condition this time, a year after he arrived in the country overweight and out of shape for the national team’s preparation for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China.
“He looks good,” said Baldwin after practice on Sunday. “It’s a different Andray than last year.”
A day after saying the jury is still out on the former NBA player, the Gilas mentor applauded Blatche for the work he put in to be at his best - or close to it - for the country's campaign in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.
“He is in good shape. He is not in peak condition but we have five weeks to get him there. He is in good shape and he has done the work back home so there is no waiting around. We are moving forward ... his commitment is where he is always at,” said Baldwin.
Like Baldwin, Blatche is also moving forward, opting not to discuss his weight or anything related to his condition to reporters.
“Last year is over. Let’s talk about stuff this year and move forward and our games this year,” said Blatche.
After Gilas practice, Baldwin was seen speaking to Blatche one-on-one about the naturalized cager’s commitment to the squad since the 2014 basketball World Cup.
“The great thing about Andray is his attitude. He really does love this group of guys. He loves the environment. Two years ago, we had a great player. Last year, we had a guy out of shape but still gave everything he had,” said Baldwin.