12 - 24
July 2022
1 Andray BLATCHE (Philippines); 11 Terrence ROMEO (Philippines)
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The ''Blatche-man'' Game: Overcoming injury to beat Japan in 2015

CHANGSHA (China) - Andray Blatche had successfully made his "Gilas" debut at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014, helping the Philippines to a win over Senegal. That performance alone had already secured Blatche a special place in the hearts of Filipino basketball fans.

He'd later solidify his spot as one of a Philippines national team greats one year later at FIBA Asia Cup 2015 against Japan, playing most of the game on virtually one ankle.

Hobbling Start

The Philippines were already off on the wrong foot to begin with, having lost to Palestine in the opening game of the tournament. They badly needed this win over Japan with a game against Iran looming ahead.

The situation then got even worse when Blatche injured his right ankle early in the second quarter as he tried to penetrate for yet another basket. The Philippines had heavily relied on blatch, as evident from his earlier 21-point, 12-rebound outing against Palestine. To see him wince and hobble off the court was obviously not an easy sight for the Philippines faithful.

Gilas were down 22-17 when Blatche, who had 6 points and 4 rebounds, went down.

Hopping Around

Blatche came back into the game a couple of minutes later, but it was clear that the ankle was still bothering him. Nonetheless, he fought through the obvious pain and put his best efforts on both sides of the floor. The fans and the team had to endure many concerning moments as Blatche played though.

Nearing the end of the first half, Blatche rose up high for a block on Joji Takeuchi. Even though he was able to land on his uninjured left foot, Blatche still cautiously hopped around to avoid an impact on that right foot. And for each hop, the Philippines basketball fans took in a gasp.


There was positivity in the locker room concerning Blatche's ankle for the second half, after identifying the injury as a minor ankle sprain. However, that mood didn't last for long after Blatche has hopping up and down on his left foot once again after hitting a midrange shot.

The Philippines had already taken back the lead by then, but they still had to fend off the gritty Japan national team for nearly 20 more minutes.

Hero Ball

No one would have blamed Blatche if he had decided to sit the rest of the game out for safety precautions. Yet there he was, getting his ankle taped up ready to get back into action.


Blatche returned to the game early in the final quarter and helped preserve the lead that his teammates had gained until the final buzzer. He ended up scoring 10 points in that quarter alone, highlighted by some clutch baskets that made everyone forget for a second that he was even injured in the first place.

Blatche dribbled the ball as time ran out with a slight look of fatigue on his face. He ended up with yet another double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, but most importantly, he had helped Gilas get an important win.

The ankle had definitely hurt, but being in the game meant no time to think about that pain.

"When you're on the court, the adrenaline gets going and it just blocks the pain out and you just go," Blatche had told SPIN.PH following the win.

The minor injury didn't bother Blatche much more from there as he and the Philippines went on all the way through to the Final. He had big-time games against Lebanon in the Quarter-finals (24 points and 17 rebounds) and Japan in the Semi-Finals (22 points and 13 rebounds) to finish with an average of 17.8 points and 9.2 boards per contest in the tournament.

Nonetheless, this second round game against Japan might have been one of his best performances in a Gilas jersey yet.