Chot Reyes defends Andray Blatche from critics, names Gilas Final 12 for game against Japan

ByAllan Lim

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Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes took to Twitter to defend the team’s embattled naturalized player Andray Blatche from critics after the 31-year old native of Syracuse, New York once again submitted below par numbers during the national team’s recent loss to Australia.

Blatche could only come up with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes of play as Gilas bowed to the Boomers 84-68 and suffered their first defeat of the tournament. He was far from foul trouble with only 1 during the game but the coaching staff had to yank him in and out of the playing court as he was already huffing and puffing as early as the 2nd quarter. He wasn’t running anymore in some instances and was already cheating on defense.

His performance definitely left much to be desired, especially against the taller Aussies where he was expected to lead the team given his height, heft and experience.

The heavy-set American also dished out a dismal performance against Chinese-Taipei during the 1st window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Blatche could only cough up 6 points in 28 minutes, and to top it off committed a team-high 6 turnovers.

Despite the 6-foot-11’s glaring dip in performance, Reyes made it clear that he has complete faith in Blatche especially since his value goes beyond numbers.

Aside from reaffirming his support for Blatche, the controversial mentor also named the Final 12 who will take the floor during the team’s home game against Japan.

Guards Jio Jalalon and Jayson Castro were reinserted back into the team along with Troy Rosario. The trio took the places of Abu Tratter, Kevin Alas and Carl Bryan Cruz.

Retaining their spots are Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Allein Maliksi, Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy, Calvin Abueva and Matthew Wright.

Gilas takes on winless Japan on Sunday, February 25, 7:30pm at the MOA Arena.


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