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Blatche or Christian for WC qualifiers

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said the other day either Andray Blatche or Christian Standhardinger will play for the Philippine national team as a naturalized import to start the first home-and-away window in the FIBA Asia/Pacific qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup while ruling out 7-1 Isaiah Austin in the early going.

There will be six home-and-away windows leading to the FIBA World Cup in China in 2019. The first window is scheduled on Nov. 20-28 involving 16 teams bracketed in four groups. The Philippines is in Group B with Japan, Chinese-Taipei and Australia. The next two windows will be on Feb. 19-27 and June 25-July 3. The top three finishers of each group will be split into two groups of six for the second round of home-and-away games. The first window of the second round will be on Sept. 17-25 and the next two windows are set on Nov. 26-Dec. 4 and Feb. 18-26.

Andray Blatche. FIBA
Gilas team manager Butch Antonio confirmed that the Philippines will make its home-and-away debut against Japan in a road game on Nov. 24. A proposal by Japan to advance the schedule to Nov. 23 has been withdrawn. The Philippines then takes on Chinese-Taipei at home on Nov. 27. The first two games are scheduled before the PBA opens its new season on Dec. 17.

Under terms of the MOA between the SBP and PBA, Gilas cadets in PBA teams will be released 60 days before a qualifying tournament for the World Cup or Olympics or the FIBA Asia Cup or the Asian Games. If Nov. 24 is the date of reckoning, Gilas cadets may be tapped as early as Sept. 25. PBA veterans may be released starting Nov. 9. PBA teams will allow at least one veteran to be recruited for Gilas. At the recent FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, Rain Or Shine released two veterans Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan to Gilas as the option to give up more than one player is voluntary.

Since the PBA won’t begin its next season until Dec. 17, cadets and veterans taken by Gilas won’t miss any conference games if they play Japan on Nov. 24 and Chinese-Taipei on Nov. 27. This will open up the possibility of Gilas enlisting Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter from Ginebra to form a stratospheric frontline with San Miguel Beer’s Japeth Aguilar, assuming the management of their mother clubs agree.

Author: Joaquin Henson, Philippine Star
Full Article: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/09/21/1741277/blatche-or-christian-wc-qualifiers

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