Guiao: Jordan Clarkson poses 'good problem' for Asiad team
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine men's basketball team has put premium on familiarity in its buildup for the Asian Games, but it won't let the chance of having Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson play slip away.
National team head coach Yeng Guiao sees a "good problem" in blending in the Cleveland Cavalier – who completed the final 12-man squad – in his system with less than a week to gear up for their maiden Asiad game.
"Eh kung 'sing galing naman ni Clarkson makakasama mo, siguro that's a good problem blending him in," Guiao told reporters after unveiling the lineup on Friday, August 10, at the Meralco Gym.
(If it's someone as good as Clarkson who you would be working with, it's probably a good problem blending him in.)
With limited time to prepare, the team was built primarily around the players' knowledge of Guiao's system.
Of the 12 players, 8 have been under the firebrand coach's tutelage. Meanwhile, the other 3 cogs – Stanley Pringle, JP Erram and Christian Standhardinger – have slowly integrated themselves with the team during the past week.
But given Clarkson's caliber, Guiao is taking a chance on him.
"I'm sure with his experience, his IQ, madali niyang makukuha sistema. Napakasimple lang naman ng sistema natin."
(I'm sure with his experience, his IQ, he will easily get the system. Our system is very simple.)
Familiarity is not the only issue with Clarkson.
Although he was included in the lineup, it is still uncertain whether the 26-year-old will be allowed to play in the quadrennial meet due to eligibility issues in the past.
If the Olympic Council of Asia or the NBA do not give Clarkson the go signal, the Philippine team could end up with only 11 players.
That's a risk Guiao is willing to take.
"Kung makakahabol, kung papayagan ng organizers, ihahabol natin para maging 12 tayo," Guiao said when asked if there will be a replacement in case Clarkson will not be allowed to play.
(If time will permit and the organizers will agree, then we will add another player to make it 12.)
"Kung hindi naman, okay lang na 11. Okay lang."
(If not, then it's okay if there will be only 11 players.)
The Philippine team will fly to Jakarta, Indonesia on August 12, just four days before it opens its campaign against Kazakhstan on August 16. (LOOK: 2018 Asian Games Gilas Pilipinas schedule) – Rappler.com