IT was all business for both Andray Blatche and Chot Reyes when coach and player were finally reunited during Sunday’s Gilas Pilipinas practice at the Meralco gym.
Coming off a long flight from Atlanta, Blatche showed up in training right away to join for the first time the 11 other members of the national team set to see action in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship.
Reyes said he appreciated the effort and softened his stand on the naturalized player, days after expressing displeasure over the repeated delays in his arrival that have set back the national team’s preparation for the May 12-18 qualifier for the Fiba Asia Cup.
“I just welcomed him and then I said, let’s just put in the work because we’ve been talking naman throughout when he wasn’t here,” said Reyes.
"It's now time for us to work," added Reyes. "It's now time to stop talking and just put in the work."
Blatche, 30, just shrugged off Reyes’ rant, prefering to see the Gilas coach as the one responsible for bringing him to Gilas during the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain when they first worked together.
“(That) was my first guy here,” said the NBA veteran of the multi-titled coach.” This is just like going back to the first day."
Now that Blatche is around, Reyes finally gets the benefit of practicing with a complete lineup, five days before Gilas getting its Seaba campaign going against Myanmar in Friday’s opener.
So far, the national coach said he likes what he saw with Blatche in practice.
“That’s the big advantage with Andray because he already knows the system, he knows a lot of what we want to do on the dribble and drive. We just have to get him up to speed with the other things that we’re doing,” said Reyes.
“But most importantly, to know his teammates, because he knows less than 50 percent of the other guys on the team.”