MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas will get a much-needed shot in the arm from an NBA player when it plunges back to action.
Head coach Chot Reyes bared Jordan Clarkson will reinforce the national team for the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in August.
Toting an even 2-2 card through the first three windows, the Philippines will face Lebanon on August 25 and Saudi Arabia on August 29 to start the second round.
“We have word that Jordan Clarkson is coming to join the team to play in the 25th and the 29th,” Reyes told PlayItRight TV on Wednesday, July 20.
The addition of the Utah Jazz guard could not have come at a better time for a national squad beset by a series of misfortunes.
After a disappointing silver-medal finish in the Southeast Asian Games in May, the Philippines missed the FIBA Asia Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 15 years after a 102-81 loss to Japan on Tuesday.
An NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner in 2021, Clarkson last donned the national colors in the 2018 Asian Games and led the Philippines to fifth place, its best finish in the continental meet in 16 years.
But Clarkson – whose mother, Annette Tullao Davis, is Filipino-American – is still considered a naturalized player by FIBA. His grandmother Marcelina traces her roots in Pampanga.
Reyes also expressed optimism that Kai Sotto will be on board for the fourth window after turning down an invitation to play in the Asia Cup.
The 7-foot-3 big man recently went unselected in the NBA Draft.
“Hopefully, Kai Sotto can make it this time.”
Keeping his focus on the bigger picture, Reyes said upcoming international tournaments will give the national team an opportunity to assess potential players for the World Cup next year.
“We will only start practicing on August 15 when everyone is available,” Reyes said.” At least we will see some other players, some more players that we can take a look at for 2023.” – Rappler.com
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