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Yeng wants to see if Blatche is in shape

by Waylon Galvez

Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao hopes to finalize the roster and the schedule of practice sessions of the national team when he meets with officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) today.

Guiao has said before that he wants to resume training by the third week of January.

“We’ll have a meeting with SBP, and this will include our plans on the February window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, when the lineup will be released, and also when the practice will resume,” said Guiao.

The national team takes on Qatar on Feb. 21 and Kazakhstan on Feb. 23 in the sixth and final qualifying window of the FIBA World Cup set August 31 to September 15.

Andray Blatche (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Gilas is 1-3 the last four games, having absorbed heartbreaking defeats against Kazakhstan (92-88) and Iran (78-70) last December here. The setbacks dropped the Philippines to fourth place with a 5-5 card in Group F behind Australia (9-1), Iran (7-3) and Japan (6-4). The last two games are must-wins and Guiao said adding naturalized player Andray Blatche is a possibility although he said he remains concerned with the latter’s condition.

“It’s a crucial factor… we’re waiting what kind of shape he’s in. That’s my only concern. The management of Gilas has been informed by Blatche’s agent that he is in shape, but we cannot be certain until we see him play,” said Guiao.

“The plan, as I’ve mentioned, is to have Blatche come in early, or at least a month before we leave for the Middle East where we’ll play several games before the sixth qualifying window,” added Guiao.

Tags: Andray Blatche , FIBA , FIBA World Cup , FIBA World Cup qualifier , Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas , Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) , Yeng Guiao