Check this out: Naturalized center Andray Blatche will not be part of the Gilas Pilipinas team that will participate in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, after the Olympic Council of Asia denied him eligibility. But we were just getting started!
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is working round the clock to convince the OCA to review its decision, but the tournament's three-year residency rule is too good of an argument to be ignored. According to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia, best we can do at this point is to appeal to the organizers if it's possible for Marcus Douthit to take Blatche's place in the lineup instead.
Video via ABS-CBN News Online
While it's worth noting that Andray can always come back for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, it looks like we're going to have to part ways with him for now. Hence, a farewell tribute is in order.
Read on to see some of the things we love and will miss the most about our new #KaPUSO, Andray Blatche. See you some time next year, brother!
When local reporters first asked Andray what he can bring to our national squad, the 6"11' center simply answered "height." Little did we know that he would bring us heart as well.
Due to a spelling error, he once tweeted Pinoys to do their laundry with PUSO. But for all we know, maybe he believes Gilas is more than capable of cleaning up the competition. That's so sweet of you, Andray!
To make up for that horribly misspelled hashtag, Andray tweeted and endorsed his favorite anti-inflammatory medicine in Tagalog. That must be the naturalized Pinoy in him talking!
It took Andray a couple of games to realize that no man is an island, but once he did, he made it a point to share the spotlight (and the basketball) with his teammates. In fact, he passed the scoring reigns to Jimmy Alapag and June Mar Fajardo in the last few FIBA World Cup games.
Andray unfortunately hurt his knee early on against Croatia, but went on to tough it out in the next four games. If you weren't fond of Blatche before, we're pretty sure his playing-through-the-pain moment did the trick.