Philippines: Star player Andray Blatche could pull out of FIBA Asia Cup over safety concerns
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Philippines: Star player Andray Blatche could pull out of FIBA Asia Cup over safety concerns

PHILIPPINES may have to get by without star player Andray Blatche at the FIBA Asia Cup as the former NBA big man reportedly has security concerns over the Lebanon trip.

The naturalised Blatche was named in Gilas Pilipinas’ initial 24-man squad for the tournament, which begins on August 8.

But SPIN.ph has reported that the 30-year-old former Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets forward/centre is reluctant to take his place in the final 12-man line-up.

That roster must be submitted by Tuesday, and if Blatche is not committed, Christian Standhardinger is set to be selected as the Philippines’ naturalised player.

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Standhardinger is due to line up for Gilas in the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur but will head to Lebanon instead if Blatche withdraws from the FIBA Asia Cup.

Blatche, who plays his basketball for Chinese champions Xinjiang Flying Tigers, is understood to be in the US with his wife and newborn child as the Chinese season does not begin until October.

He has been negotiating with Gilas officials for weeks, as the deadline for final selection for the FIBA Asia Cup has approached.

Blatche last played for Philippines at the Southeast Asian Basketball (SEABA) Championship in May, leading the team in points (14.0 per game) and rebounds (8.0 per game) as they won the tournament.

That victory ensured qualification for both the FIBA Asia Cup and the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.