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MANILA, Philippines – Even after a heroic performance that gave the Philippines its first win in this year’s FIBA World Cup, Jordan Clarkson still recognized the tough task that coach Chot Reyes had to carry.
Clarkson said Reyes, who announced he’s “stepping aside” after Gilas Pilipinas snapped a four-game skid, “put everything on the line” for the team.
“I mean I could just start off with one word: just respect,” said Clarkson after erupting for 34 points in Gilas’ breakthrough win, 96-75, against China on Saturday, September 2.
“Like he said, he didn’t apply for this job, he didn’t do that, he got chosen.”
“And you know, he’s put everything on the line, like he said, for his family, and for the country as well,” Clarkson added.
“You know, he’s done a good job of rallying all of us in the short times that we’ve been together.”
Reyes got booed by Filipino fans all throughout Gilas’ rough start in the tournament. Every loss also resulted in massive social media backlash, with memes, commentary, and vile comments targeting the Gilas mentor.
But Clarkson, who had described the booing incidents as “weird” and “out of the ordinary,” hopes all that will be put aside after Gilas bowed out of the World Cup on a winning note.
“It feels good. It’s been a tough tournament, but we kept fighting, we kept competing, and we kept playing. We really want to end this on a right note,” said the Utah Jazz star.
“We might not the see the same guys in the locker room after this. But at the same time, we just wanted to show heart, fight and resilience.” – Rappler.com