Gilas has target date for Andray Blatche’s return: May 15 the latest, says team manager Butch Antonio

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Gilas has target date for Andray Blatche’s return: May 15 the latest, says team manager Butch Antonio. With only minor details to be ironed out in his latest deal, naturalized player Andray Blatche is expected to re-join the Philippine national men’s basketball team in the not-so-distant future, with a target date already set.

Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio confirmed this development during Monday’s training at the Meralco gym.

“Right now, the latest that we’re looking at is May 15,” Antonio told sportswriters. “That’s based on our initial discussion with Coach Tab (Baldwin). But that can change and Andray knows that.”

“Kasi May 20 is the last day of the PBA and May 15 is a good cut-off. He’ll be here before the whole team is complete.”

Blatche, who helped lead Gilas to a runner-up finish in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, will be coming off a stint in China and, according to Antonio, his camp is close to agreeing to terms on the new contract for the former Brooklyn Nets center, who inked the richest deal in the history of the Chinese Basketball Association.

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“Everything seems positive naman. We’ve been negotiating, going back and forth the past week. All I know, for sure, is Andray wants to play. His handlers were here last week and we spoke with them on the final deal,” said Antonio.

“I hope the document will be sent kahit via email tonight or tomorrow. They just have to work on some things on their end, amongst themselves. But as far as Gilas is concerned I think 99-percent or 99.9. Andyan na yan.”

Antonio didn’t divulge the exact details of the contract but revealed that one of the conditions would be to make sure Blatche joins the team in top condition.

“That’s also a concern we put on the table. They know about it,” said Antonio, who was given assurance that Blatche will come here in shape as opposed to last year where he came in 40 pounds overweight and needed to take drastic measures just to trim down.

This time, Blatche’s handlers intend to hire a trainer in the United States to make sure he comes in better shape.

“They said they want to get a trainer as early as possible to work with him. Andray knows there were questions to the state of his physical condition the last time he was here,” added Antonio.(source:interaksyon)

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