ANDRAY Blatche is not in game shape but coach Yeng Guiao is more than satisfied with what he saw as the naturalized player attended his first practice with Gilas Pilipinas that is preparing for the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
The 32-year-old naturalized player arrived over the weekend and immediately joined the national team in practice on Monday night at the Meralco gym.
Although Blatche appeared winded at the end of the two-hour session, Guiao nonetheless expects him to get better as the day goes by.
“Satisfied ako, parang yung last window na dumating siya rito, he was in the same shape,” said Guiao in the media interview that followed Gilas’ practice. “Pero ang maganda ngayon mas mahaba yung time na puwede nating paghandaan.
“So he should be in better shape for the World Cup than when he was in the (final Fiba World Cup qualifier) window because of the longer preparation.”
This marked the rare time Blatche arrived in training camp for a major international tournament or at least more than a month before the FIBA World Cup kicks off in China in the final day of August.
Blatche skipped the traditional team dinner after practice and hurriedly left the venue without talking to reporters.
As before, Guiao will again have Blatche join NLEX in practice to help him familiarize with the national team’s system.
The Road Warriors however, are still on a vacation following their elimination in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and won’t start practicing until next week.
“We still have limitations with our practice time. It’s still twice-a-day right now, but we’ll try to find a way to get him extra days to practice,” Guiao said.
“So that would put him into better shape. Mas mahaba yung panahon natin to prepare, so were looking forward for him to get even better, sharper, and quicker.”