As we asserted a few times earlier, Gilas Pilipinas is really just The Andray Blatche Show. This reality about the Philippines’ flag bearer to the FIBA World Cup in Spain this year was punctuated this week after the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) ruled against Blatche being included in the Philippine basketball team playing in the 17th Asian Games. This development, quite simply, illuminated the next steps from the perspective Philippine basketbal officialdom…
With the rebuff, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas vice chair Ricky Vargas said during a press conference yesterday that they may skip participation in the Asiad set Sept.19 to Oct. 4 in Incheon, South Korea.
Just like that.
Kung walang Blatche, walang Gilas.
Everything about Gilas Pilipinas does indeed hinge on Andray Blatche who was granted insta-citizenship by Philippine Congress just this year through Republic Act 10636 (based on a bill authored by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara), an insta-law that was insta-signed by Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III. Blatche, who prior to that had never been to the Philippines then went on to average 21.2 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals over five games in the recently-concluded FIBA Wold Cup as well as lead the team to a victory over Senegal in the Philippines’ first World Cup win in 40 years.
The OCA, however, requires that naturalised players rack up 3-years’ residency in their respective teams’ host country before they are eligible to play in the Asian Games.
But why consider not sending the Philippines’ boys to Incheon just because they are missing their big American guy? The OCA had also banned the naturalised imports of the Chinese Taipei and South Korean teams from playing — a bit of a levelling of the playing field there, one would think. Apparently this wasn’t enough for the Filipino basketballers to grow back a pair. Interesting too that Filipinos’ confidence in their team would be so utterly deflated by the absence of a single guy.
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