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September 12, 2014 Updates

It only took three days for Robin Lopez to fall in love with the Philippines, so much so that the American NBA center has presented himself as another naturalization candidate for the country's basketball team. “If the whole Andray Blatche thing doesn’t work out, I’m here for Gilas,” Lopez said on Thursday after conducting a training camp organized by Gatorade and NBA Philippines at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong. “I don’t wish any harm to come to Dray because obviously he’s played his heart out for that team and he’s a great fit,” the Portland Trail Blazer said, referring to Blatche, who reinforced Gilas as a naturalized Filipino in the recent Fiba World Cup. Sports Interactive Network Philippines

September 6, 2014 Updates

Moments after the Philippines won its first FIBA World Cup game in 40 years, naturalized player Andray Blatche told Yahoo Philippines Sports that he wants to return to the country to thank the Filipino people for the tremendous support Gilas received. “The support we got from the Philippines and right here in Spain is more than enough for us to work so hard for this win. I love it. I can’t wait to get back to Manila to give my thanks,” said Blatche. Yahoo! Sports Philippines

September 4, 2014 Updates
August 30, 2014 Updates

Andray Blatche ended his first game at FIBA World Cup with Philippines National Team with 28 points and 12 rebounds. “Unfortunately we lost today but today’s game confirms how much I trust my teammates. We fought until the end against a much stronger opponent and we had also the final shot to win it. I felt good, we must play again like today without being afraid of our opponents. In addition to points and rebounds my task is also to give confidence to my teammates. I am very optimistic for the next games, Philippines will continue to impress as today and we want to make out great fans happier than today”, said Blatche. Sportando

Gilas reached out to Blatche through Duke Pryor, an Indianapolis-based consultant whose extensive basketball Rolodex allows him to serve as a fixer for businesses or, in this case, national basketball teams that are seeking the services of NBA talent. Pryor, whose connections come from a decade spent mentoring elite high school players, many of whom now play in the NBA, comes across as a minor World Wide Wes–style sports power broker. He helped bring Bryant back to Manila in August 2013 for an appearance on behalf of Lenovo laptops, and SBP hired him to act as its emissary in acquiring Blatche. Grantland

Pryor told me it took only a couple of phone calls to reach Blatche and deliver the Philippines’ pitch. Pryor, Reyes, and Blatche have all declined to reveal the exact amount Blatche signed for, but Bryant and Durant each reportedly received $400,000 to participate in the 2011 lockout exhibitions and Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that some NBA players who flew to Manila for a two-day event in late July earned upward of $150,000. Grantland

“We said, we’ll take a risk,” Reyes said about the decision to add Blatche. “We may not be sure about the other parts of his personality, but at least we’re sure about his athletic ability. … In my mind, we could assimilate anyone as long as that person is open. Working with imports, bringing them from the cold into a team — we have a lot of experience there.” Grantland

“Coming in, I had my doubts about Andray,” Reyes told me. “I thought he would be always away from us, but he’s actually thrown himself into the process. When people saw that he was a legitimate NBA player who was willing to be just one of the guys … there was a palpable sigh of relief.” Grantland

August 29, 2014 Updates
August 23, 2014 Updates

Gilas Pilipinas lost to FIBA Africa Champions Angola, 83-74. Andray Blatche with 33 pts and 17 rebs. Facebook.com

August 18, 2014 Updates

Newcomers Andray Blatche and Paul Lee will join the Gilas Pilipinas squad that will compete in the FIBA Basketball World Cup starting on August 30. Philippine coach Chot Reyes made the announcement on Monday on his Twitter account. Blatche, who spent this past season with the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA before acquiring Filipino citizenship, will take the place of another naturalized player Marcus Douthit in the lineup. GMANetwork.com

August 14, 2014 Updates

Jared Dillinger the defensive-minded Meralco off-guard will take the place of Fonacier in the team while Andray Blatche the Brooklyn Net in the National Basketball Association will be the Philippines' naturalized player in Inchon South Korea. Blatche who can more or less offset Iranian center Hamed Haddadi in Korea was naturalized less than two months ago and has in fact been with the Philippine team for the last three weeks counting their rigorous two-week training stint in Miami. Menafn

July 31, 2014 Updates

Blatche is under contract with the Philippine national team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup and up until the 2014 Asian Games. Barring any unforeseen developments, Blatche should be a go in Spain, but his presence in Incheon may not be as guaranteed. (RELATED: Andray Blatche’s journey from New York to Gilas Pilipinas) It doesn’t really have anything to do with his not having an NBA team yet. Someone like him has a fair chance of landing a contract, especially if he performs well for Gilas. Rappler

July 28, 2014 Updates

Gilas Pilipinas had its first official practice session Saturday in Miami, the start of a rigorous two-week training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup in Spain set Aug. 30 to Sept. 14. The first practice session also marked the first time that NBA veteran Andray Blatche joined the national team. Blatche was granted naturalization, thus allowing him to play for the Philippines in various international tournaments. The 6-foot-11 Blatche, who recently played for the Brooklyn Nets, posted a photo of his No. 11 Pilipinas jersey on his Instagram account @draylive, saying: “Very thankful #puso.” Yahoo! Sports Philippines

July 26, 2014 Updates

During a recent trip to Manila, teammates Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan put on a show for the fans. Watch as DeRozan jumps over Lowry to finish this sick alley oop off the backboard. beyondthebuzzer.com

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