Philippines' center Andray Blatche vies with Croatia's centre Ante Tomic (R) and Croatia's forward Dario Saric (C) during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships Group B match. Photo by Cristina Quicler, Agence France-Presse
SEVILLA, Soain -- Andray Blatche was visibly in pain late in the second quarter in Gilas Pilipinas’ first game in the FIBA World Cup on Saturday.
He limped to the bench and was wincing in pain as trainers rushed to ice his knee. He came back in the second half wearing knee wrap for awhile but was limping much less.
Croatia narrowly defeated the Philippines, 81-78.
At practice on Sunday, Blatche told members of the Philippine media that he indeed twisted his right knee and said it was very painful.
But he said he plans to play through the pain -- anything to help Gilas against Greece.
Blatche was very happy with the team’s performance against Croatia, saying he felt his teammates were not undersized at tall with the way they battled toe to toe versus the much taller Croatians.
He specifically mentioned the key performance of Jeff Chan who kept the threes raining that helped the team come back in it.
Blatche was also very thankful for the homecourt feel, thanks to the more than 3,000 Filipino fans in attendance at the Centro Derportivo San Pablo Arena. He said he was expecting that kind of supports since the Filipinos have been showing it since their tune up games.
For the game versus Greece later Sunday, he said he knows he and Chan will be marked men for sure, but he thinks it's a great chance for the other players to step up and take advantage of the open lanes on defense.
Gilas Pilipinas plays Greece at 2 a.m. Manila time on early Monday.