FIBA World Cup

Jordan Clarkson lost for words as Gilas Pilipinas sinks anew

Philip Matel

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Jordan Clarkson lost for words as Gilas Pilipinas sinks anew

EFFORT. Jordan Clarkson looks to pass to a Gilas Pilipinas teammate in their game against South Sudan.


Fil-Am NBA player Jordan Clarkson grasps for the right words after another heartbreaker as Gilas Pilipinas remains winless in the FIBA World Cup

MANILA, Philippines — For Philippine team star Jordan Clarkson, there’s nothing else new to say – the players tried their hardest, but they just fell short yet again. 

“Tough one again,” said Clarkson after Gilas Pilipinas, already relegated to the FIBA World Cup classification phase, lost to South Sudan in an 87-68 whipping on Thursday, August 31. 

“I feel like I’m coming back and saying the same thing. Tough game. We’re playing a hard fight,” the Utah Jazz star added. “That’s all I could say right now. The team is competing.” 

The loss also ended the Philippines’ hopes for an Olympic berth, the reward given to the top performers in each continent. 

As Gilas skidded to 0-4 with just a game left, Japan had secured the inside track for the Paris Olympics slot as the only Asian team so far toting two wins. 

Sinking to a 21-point hole, 51-30, just before halftime, Gilas tried its hardest to storm back behind Clarkson, Dwight Ramos, and AJ Edu, eventually cutting the lead to just 4, 60-56, after a Kai Sotto alley-oop jam with 7:28 left in the game.

However, the fiery comeback bid got doused immediately after a flurry of fastbreak baskets from South Sudan, which dampened the hopes of the more than 9,000 Filipino fans inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“They were making shots. We made an adjustment, which is the reason why we started coming back in the game,” said Clarkson.

“They made another adjustment and finished the game out.”

Carlik Jones figured at the forefront of South Sudan’s game-defining run as the NBA G League MVP delivered an impressive outing of 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 14 assists – just a board shy of the first triple-double in World Cup history.

Clarkson finished with 24 points on 9-of-23 shooting, along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 turnovers.

Gilas wraps up its campaign against China on Saturday, September 2, which could be Clarkson’s final game representing the Philippines in the World Cup.

Clarkson shared he had not thought about it yet, as Gilas looks to end a nine-game losing streak that started in the 2019 edition of the global basketball showpiece. —

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