GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin cut Andray Blatche some slack as the naturalized center continues to get back into shape ahead of the Fiba Asia Championship.
Blatche huffed and puffed and was easily gassed out as he played against Talk ‘N Text in the MVP Cup on Friday, his first game since returning from the US where he attended his uncle’s funeral and attended to his ailing mother.
But Baldwin stood behind his prized 6-foot-11 slotman.
“That’s normal, guys, so don’t be surprised,” the American-Kiwi mentor said. “Don’t make a big story out of that. He’s had time off and he’s got to get the feel back.”
“He’s played the game so long at such a high level that it will come back to him pretty easily,” Baldwin added of the nine-year NBA veteran. “But he needs these minutes, he needs this time.”
Blatche registered 12 points, five boards, two assists, one steal, and one block, but missed seven of his eight three-point attempts in 24 minutes.
“Andray didn’t hit his outside shots, but it’s coming,” Baldwin said. “He’s got to shoot and run his way into shape.”
Blatche was hardly amused when asked about his plan to get back into shape.
“You asked a simple question that you sure know the answer to,” he said.
The 29-year-old former Brooklyn Net said an early hit in the back by a TNT player made matters worse.
“I was doing fine until I got elbowed in my back and it kind of slowed me down and made it worse.”