By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The arrival of Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is a huge boost to the offense of the Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup 2023, which will be co-hosted by the country beginning August 25.
According to Gilas head coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes, the Filipino-American guard will provide what the team needs, especially following the low scoring games of the national team in their recent pocket tournament in China.
“It’s no secret that our offense is not as smooth and polished as we want it to be. A lot of that is because we’re building the offense around Jordan,” Reyes said in an interview with One Sports’ Carlo Pamintuan.
“Just by having him here, hopefully, we can get the offense now to a better place, to a higher level. To a place which we were preparing these past months essentially. We were preparing so that it’s going to be an easy integration for us, for Jordan,” he added.
For his part, Clarkson said he is optimistic that the Philippine men’s basketball squad can beat some of their group stage opponents in the Dominican Republic, Italy and Angola.
“I think we got a good chance to do some things. Hopefully, we’ll win some games,” the Utah Jazz guard said in an interview upon his arrival in the Philippines on Tuesday morning, August 8.
Having a decent performance in the tournament is vital for Gilas Pilipinas, as the best Asian team after the World Cup will earn an outright seat in the Paris Olympics 2024 men’s basketball.
This will be Clarkson’s third time to play for the country after suiting up for the Rain or Shine-Philippines in Asian Games 2019 and in the recent FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers 2023.
The 31-year-old Clarkson is expected to join the Gilas Pilipinas for practice and in their scheduled friendly matches against some fellow FIBA World Cup competitors./ASC, WDJ