Baldwin sees Gilas-Wellington rematch as Gilas-Iran, Gilas-China preview

Andray Blatche is expected to step up against the tall Wellington Saints.
Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--In their previous meeting at the Jones Cup, Dondon Hontiveros played hero as Gilas needed overtime before completing a comeback from 16 points down to edge out Wellington.

Coach Tab Baldwin expects a different outcome in their rematch at the Master Gameface MVP Cup on Saturday, and he hinted that Andray Blatche is in for an acid test.

With the addition of former PBA import Jameel Watkins and the possible activation of Playing Coach Kevin Braswell, the Saints, according to Baldwin, now look like China and Iran.

"This is a team that simulates Iran and China a little bit because of its size and a skilled point guard. It's the kind of test we want," Baldwin said.

The American-Kiwi mentor, however, believed that Blatche will hold his own against Wellington especially on defense.

Baldwin bared, "One thing that you don't really see a lot from Andray is his defensive intelligence. He anchors the middle of our defense. He gives us that big presence that we didn't have in the Jones Cup."

Gilas actually played against Iran in the Jones Cup, and the Philippine team, then without Blatche, held its ground against the Iranian squad before conceding a 65-74 loss.

Gilas and Wellington will once again battle on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 5 p.m. right after the curtain-raiser between Talk 'n Text and Chinese Taipei at 3 p.m.