Clarkson 'head and shoulders' above Asiad competition, says Guiao
MANILA, Philippines – If there would be one takeaway from Gilas Pilipinas' heart-wrenching 80-82 loss to China in the 2018 Asian Games men's basketball tournament, it's that Jordan Clarkson is a cut above the rest.
Philippine team head coach Yeng Guiao wasn't short of praise for his prized cog, who pulled no punches in his keenly awaited debut for the national team with a game-high 28 points on top of 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
"Jordan Clarkson just showed what kind of players he is. He was head and shoulders over the players here and he showed that," Guiao told reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With Clarkson in tow, the Filipinos nearly shattered a 44-year losing streak against the Chinese in the history of the Asiad.
The Nationals trailed by as much as 12 points in the first half that saw the Cleveland Cavalier shoot a paltry 1-of-7 from the 3-point line before he buried 3 straight treys to tie the game at 55-all in the 3rd quarter.
Clarkson was subbed out late in the game due to cramps but the Philippines even took an 80-77 lead with 1:20 minutes remaining.
However, China – battle-tested through the years – pulled through in the clutch with 5 straight points for the win.
"It's just a pity that he cramped in the last two minutes, so we couldn't use him. But even without him we still played well," Guiao added.
Thanks to a 37-point demolition of Kazakhstan in its first game, Clarkson and the Philippines are virtually through to the quarterfinals of the tourney. – with reports from Beatrice Go/Rappler.com