MANILA, Philippines – Jeff Moore, a naturalized Filipino who suited up for the national basketball team in the 1980s, offered some advice for Andray Blatche as the NBA big man prepares to help Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
Moore was part of the team that won the FIBA Asia title in 1986, which also included naturalized players Dennis Still and Chip Engelland, who is now a shooting coach for the NBA champions San Antonio Spurs.
In an interview with Joaquin Henson of the Philippine Star, Moore said Blatche should "be part of the Filipino lifestyle" and advised the NBA player to "fit in with the community."
Blatche officially became a Filipino recently after President Benigno Aquino III signed into law a bill for his naturalization, and will thus be part of the Gilas Pilipinas squad that will compete in Spain later this year.
"Andray should treat his teammates like brothers. All for one, one for all," Moore said.
"Don't go out there trying to do it all like a big shot," he added. "He may be a natural scorer, and he'll be expected to score a lot of points, but he should understand there's more he can do on the court."
Moore said Blatche should be prepared to "do the dirty work," including rebounding and playing defense.
"He should understand his role, listen to the coach, and respect the game," said Moore. "I've heard good things about Andray, and I'm sure he'll be fine."
Moore isn’t the only naturalized Filipino to offer his advice to Blatche. Recently, Engelland also told Blatche that he should try to get to know the Filipino people and their culture if he truly wants to represent them well.
"It's difficult to represent anything if you don't know the people, and that's what felt at home for me. I understood the Filipino people and felt honored to represent them," said Engelland.
Blatche recently paid a short visit to Manila, where he got to meet some of his teammates and watched a PBA game.