Forget the names. Andray Blatche couldn’t care less as long as he knows how his Gilas Pilipinas teammates play.
“I’m still not good with the names yet,” Blatche said after practice on Thursday when asked how he was doing with the getting-to-know-his-teammates aspect.
“But I’m starting to know who are the shooters, the drivers, so it’s coming along in my head.”
Blatche, the 6-foot-11 former NBA regular, will undoubtedly be a big figure in the Philippines’ drive to make it back to the Fiba World Cup as the Filipinos need nothing less than winning the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship title here to make it to the arduous qualifying starting November.
This Gilas team is a far different one from the last that Blatche played in, when it failed to log a win in the Olympic Qualifying event under Tab Baldwin about a year ago.
“I’m very excited,” he said.
And Blatche, like the rest of the team, is not about to take Burma (Myanmar), or any other team in this competition, lightly.
“I feel like each game is a statement game for us,” he said as he prepares to play against inferior opponents compared to the ones he played against in the World Cup in Spain, the Asian Championships and the Olympic Qualifying.
“We don’t want to go out there and think that because we’re more talented, or go out there and let talent win,” he said. “We want to go out there and win as a team.”