MANILA — It is official – Andray Blatche is out for the 17th Asian Games.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) vice chair Ricky Vargas said that the Olympic Council of Asia rejected the plea of the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) to include Blatche in the roster of Gilas Pilipinas.
Given the recent turn of events, the Gilas team may skip participation in the Asian Games slated on September 19 to October 4 in Incheon, South Korea.
“They probably saw how we played with Blatche. The games are going to be done in Incheon, Korea,” said Vargas. “If you compare how we played in the Fiba World with Blatche, we’d probably have a bigger chance of winning the gold medal.”
Vargas shared that the SBP will try to make another appeal during the meeting on Thursday and Friday. He will be accompanied by SBP senior consultant Moying Martelino and Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia.
According to Vargas, they received the news from Olympic Council of Asia member Haider Farman via email. The message stated that Blatche was rejected because the former Brooklyn Net player failed to meet the required three-year residency in the Philippines.
In case the second appeal is rejected, Vargas said that they will seek the approval of OCA to replace Blatche with Marcus Douthit.
Douthit, who stands at 6-foot-10, assisted the Gilas team in securing a silver medal in last year’s Asian Championship that paved way for their entry to the Fiba World Cup.
“We want to be able to send the best team we can give,” said Vargas. “We cannot just not try and allow these things to happen without fighting for our rights,” he added.
The OCA also prevented Quincy Davis of Chinese Taipei and South Korea’s Aaron Haynes from playing in the upcoming games.
The Fiba has urged the organizing committee of the Asiad to apply the rules of Fiba on allowing players to participate in the Asian Games and to include Blatche in the lineup of Gilas. The 6-foot-11 center helped the national team during its campaign in the Fiba World Cup held in Spain.
The letter was signed by Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann and addressed to Iagoc secretary general Kwon Kyungsang, director general for Sports Headquarters Jo Youngha, and director of Sports Entries Department Mun Hosung.
Being the chief organizer of the Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia is responsible in setting the guidelines for eligibility.