JAKARTA, Indonesia – It was a fairly good finish for a squad assembled just few weeks ago.
Gilas Pilipinas settled for a fifth-place finish after overwhleming Syria, 109-55, at the end of the classification round in the 2018 Asian Games basketball competition on Friday, August 31 at the Gelora Bung Karno Istora stadium.
Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson erupted for 29 points to lead the Nationals, who improved on their seventh-place finish in the 2014 Incheon Games and secured the country’s best ranking in 16 years.
“It’s an honor representing my country in the Asian Games,” said Clarkson. “This is an unforgettable experience for me.”
Christian Standhardinger also delivered 27 points for the Philippine squad that showed no mercy against the Syrians as they blew them out by 26 points, 60-34, by halftime.
“We were really happy to be able to close out the tournament on a winning note and I’m really thankful for the opportunity, the guys made a commitment to really play their best, not only tonight, for the whole tournament,” said head coach Yeng Guiao.
The lopsided match had the players putting on a show with Clarkson even dropping a a two-handed slam off a Stanley Pringle alley-oop that got the fans roaring in the last 3:50 mark of the second quarter.
James Yap, who sat out in the last two games against Korea and Japan due to an ankle injury, returned to action and got on the scoreboard via a triple in the third quarter.
Clarkson, who also had 6 assists and 4 rebounds, was pulled out by national team coach Yeng Guiao midway through the third period to a standing ovation from fans.
“We want him to return and play for us again as a member of our national team,” Guiao said of Clarkson, the Philippines’ flag-bearer during the opening ceremonies. “But there are some things to be considered, like schedules and the NBA.”
Philippines 109 — Clarkson 29, Standhardinger 27, Taulava 11, Pringle 10, Yap 9, Belga 6, Tiu 5, Erram 5, Ahanmisi 3, Dalistan 2, Norwood 2, Almazan 0.
Syria 55 — Aljabi 23, Bakar 9, Saddir 6, Alhamwi 6, Al Ghamian 6, Kasaballi 2, Al Osh 2, Khouri 0, Idelbi 0
Quarters: 38-16, 60-34, 91-44, 109-55