Philippines Rumors

Former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Andray Blatche has committed 100 percent to Gilas Pilipinas in its FIBA Asia championship campaign this year. The naturalized Filipino is expected to be in Manila near the end of the PBA Governors’ Cup to join the team’s practices ahead of the Olympic qualifier. “We expect him to be with us. I’ve spoken to Andray and he’s told me he’s committed and will be 100 percent with the team,” Gilas coach Tab Baldwin told Richard Dy in a report to sports website Spin. “I want to get him here virtually before we go to the (training) camp, or maybe a little bit before that. Hopefully, before the end of the third conference,” Baldwin added.
Despite Fil-Am Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson expressing interest in playing for the national team, head coach Tab Baldwin admitted Gilas Pilipinas is not likely to naturalize guards in the near future, stating that big men are still the priority. “The difficult thing for Jordan is traditionally the Philippines needs a big man in a naturalized role,” he said Sunday, March 22 following Talk ’N Text’s twice-to-beat clinching win over Alaska in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. “If there ever came a time that we needed a guard, it’s great to know that Jordan is available. He’s easy to naturalize.”
Former NBA small forward Terrence Williams, after a short-lived stint that included just one practice, has been released from Israeli side Maccabi Ashdod, sources told Basketball Insiders. According to sources, Williams, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, is in discussions for a new deal with clubs from Puerto Rico and the Philippines. In mid-January, Williams signed a no-cut four-month offer sheet worth $68,000 in Ashdod and was immediately dubbed one of the most talented players in the Middle East. The problem was, the coach that initially lured Williams overseas had gotten fired.
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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.
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Blatche was not just a hit on the court at the World Cup, but also with his teammates, says team capatain Jimmy Alapag. “The type of relationships he built with the guys on the team in one month and a half and the effort in games and practices really said a lot about Andray,” Alapag told HoopsHype. “We were on the road together for about a month. That helped a lot to build that camaraderie and get to know Andray better. He was committed to the program from Day 1 and I think it showed.”
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.