Andray Blatche returns ready to face Australia

Andray Blatche arrived at Gilas Pilipinas practice Monday looking fit and eager to get his revenge against Australia when Gilas takes on the Boomers on July 2 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan in the third window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

The Gilas naturalized player arrived Saturday night and had his first practice Monday with the team. Blatche and the team have at least 19 days remaining to prepare before the Filipinos' two-game schedule in the qualifier.

Gilas will first fly to Taiwan to take on Chinese Taipei on June 29.

"It's good to get out here. I just felt it's perfect to be with the guys and get a head start," Blatche said after the hour-long practice Monday night at the Meralco gym.

The Filipinos bowed to the Boomers, 84-68 during their initial face off in Melbourne on February 22.

The 6-foot-10 Blatche admitted he had a rough outing playing against the taller Australian side after scoring just 8 points on 3-of-11 shooting, including just 1-of-6 from 3-point range.

But since concluding his Chinese Basketball Association season with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, the 31-year-old Blatche said he's been working out.

"I'm looking forward to that match up again. Both of the games [against Japan and Australia] was tough for me since I was coming from an injury, but it's no excuse," Blatche said.

"But I'm more excited with getting revenge [against Australia]." To beat the Boomers, who will be reinforced NBA players Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker of the Milwaukee Bucks, Blatche said Gilas will have to capitalize on its quickness.

"Australia is a great team. They're tall, they're aggressive, they're fast so we got to try to use our quickness to our advantage and I have to step up on the offensive end and defensive end," he said.