Andray Blatche is best known for his time in the NBA but he is becoming a national icon in the Philippines. He’s leading Smart Gilas in the FIBA World Cup.
Although Gilas has lost twice, Blatche’s efforts have kept them in the games and given Gilas a shot at upsetting Croatia and Greece–particularly the latter.
But during the Sunday game Blatche was noticeably having trouble playing due to a knee injury he suffered recently.
“Before you sleep, let us pray for Andray Blatche that his injury is not serious and for fast healing for all players. Thank you everyone, Good night!” said the official Smart Gilas Facebook page.
Twitter users took notice of Blatche’s efforts.
“Two games in, Andray Blatche has already proved his pusong Pinoy. He’s sacrificing his career out there with that knee injury,” said one.
“RESPECT to dis big man with a big pinoy heart! Lets pray for Andray Blatche that his injury is not serious & he gets better. #LabanPilipinas,” said another.
“After these FIBA games @drayblatche will have an additional 100 million fans playing thru injury #LabanPilipinas #PUSO,” said yet another.
Blatche tweaked his knee against Croatia on Saturday. Trainers rushed to apply ice, and he returned later in the game.
He was limping at several points during the Greece game.
Some fans believe that Blatche should be rested against Argentina to give Gilas the best opportunity to win its last two games, against two of the weakest teams in the group–Puerto Rico and Senegal.