THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will be disappointed if Andray Blatche shows up for Gilas Pilipinas practice in the same bad shape as he was ahead of the Fiba Asia Championship last year.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said they expect Blatche, the naturalized Filipino who has recently signed a new contract with the national team, to arrive ahead of the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the best shape possible.
“If, God forbid, he comes in out of shape, you from sports media should make sure he feels our disappointment,” Barrios said on Tuesday in the press launch of the tournament. “We can’t overemphasize the need for him to come in tip-top shape.”
SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan is hoping the 29-year-old Blatche comes in the way he did for the Fiba World Cup in Spain in 2014.
Blatche arrived overweight in the buildup for the continental championship in Changsha, China last year, although he did put in a good performance in Gilas' runner-up finish behind China.
“We should get the Blatche of Spain and not the Blatche of China,” Pangilinan said of the 6-foot-10 NBA veteran, who now plays in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio earlier said Blatche has started undergoing personal training in the US until he arrives in the country in the middle of next month.
“(His handler) guarantees for Andray to come in the shape he came for coach Chot (Reyes) and maybe even better,” Barrios said.