ANDRAY Blatche went through the motion of familiarizing himself more with the system of coach Yeng Guiao on Saturday in what would be his final practice with Team Pilipinas in the country prior to the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
Blatche trained with Jayson Castro at the FCL gym along with NLEX players Raoul Soyud, Emman Monfort and Paul Varilla for about an hour in a bid to help the 6-foot-11 naturalized player get accustomed to the plays being run by the national team.
Guiao said it would be the last time Blatche will go about with their plays as he’s scheduled to return to China early Monday morning.
He won’t reconnect again with Team Pilipinas until Feb. 16 in Doha, five days before the Filipinos face the home team for the final window of the qualifiers.
“Malabo na (makapag-practice) pa,” said Guiao of Blatche going back to the gym on Sunday.
“Kaya we just run through some plays earlier (Saturday) with the help of some NLEX players for Andray to get more used to the system.”
The national coach couldn’t arrange a team practice with Blatche since the Philippine Cup has yet to go on a break.
“Hindi tayo makabuo kasi either may laro yung teams today or nagpe-prepare yung mga teams for their coming games,” said Guiao.
The Barangay Ginebra duo of Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson is currently in Davao Del Sur for a road game against Blackwater.
Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan, meanwhile, will play on Sunday when Rain or Shine tangles with unbeaten league leader Phoenix, so will San Miguel stars June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter along with Magnolia’s Paul Lee and Mark Barroca as the Hotshots and the Beermen are also set to face-off.
Having Blatche practiced with the benefit of a complete roster on a limited basis is a bit of a concern for Guiao.
“Yes kasi we haven’t seen Andray practice competitively,” said Guiao. “Sa game na talaga natin makikita yung laro niya.”