''Andray Blatche deserves to be with us at the World Cup'' - Philippines coach Yeng Guiao
MANILA (Philippines) – The Philippines are going all-in on having Andray Blatche suit up for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 .
No less than Philippines head coach Yeng Guiao assured all fans that Blatche will continue to don the Team Pilipinas colors as their naturalized player on the biggest stage of international basketball.
"We know that we need big guys," Guiao said. "We will have problems against the big guys of European and African teams without Andray. And Andray deserves to be there because he brought us to the World Cup."
Blatche played well in the Asian Qualifiers despite missing a couple of the windows. He was particularly stellar in the final window earlier this year when the Filipinos' backs were against the wall, and they needed to win their last 2 games to qualify to the World Cup. Blatche came up huge for them in those 2 wins, averaging a staggering 29.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.0 steals, 2.0 blocks and 4.0 triples per contest.
For sure, that kind of production is something coach Yeng would love to have on his squad as they hope to go as far as they can at the World Cup, with a particular eye for qualifying to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Philippines are in Group D at the World Cup together with traditional African powerhouse Angola and highly ranked European sides Serbia and Italy.