Clarkson Clarkson: Excited to play again for Gilas. FIBA/Asia photo

Clarkson excited to play again for Gilas

August 8, 2023 Robert Andaya 304 views

FIL-AM Jordan Clarkson is excited to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas again for the FIBA World Cup 2023.

That includes an opportunity to play against fellow NBA star Karl Anthony-Towns of the Dominican Republic on opening-day at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Aug. 25.

“I’m just excited to be with the team again,”said Clarkson upon his arrival in Manila via PR 103 flight from Los Angeles, California early Tueaday morning.

“It’s great, it’s amazing. I think we got a good chance to do some things special, hopefully win some games,” Clarkson told Champ de Lunas of ABS-CBN News.

A former NBA “Sixth Man of the Year’ awardee, Clarkson went straight to the VIP lounge with his entourage at 6 a.m. and left the airport in a black van 20 minutes later.

The 31-year-old guard from the Utah Jazz who, previously played for Gilas Pilipinas during the World Cup Qualifiers in 2022, received a warm welcome from fans and NAIA employees. Reyes belies Clarkson is in good basketball shape.

“We’ve been in constant communication. We’ve been talking about offenses, some concepts, about things. I’ve been messaging him about plans and what his role is going to be and he’s assured me that he’s in pretty good shape, he’s been working out, and working on his skills,”

Earlier, Gilas coach Chot Reyes told former PBA commissioner Noli Eala during an interview at the Power and Play program over Radio 5 last Saturday.

“I think he’s in basketball shape. Maybe not in top-game shape right now, but he’ll have a couple of weeks to get there. As you know, a player of that caliber, that should be enough. So the only issue now is the integration,” he added

“But he’s not coming in cold. He’s been with us before, he knows a little bit of what we’re doing already, and he knows the guys.”

Clarkson produced a career-high in scoring during the 2022-2023 NBA season, posting averages of 20.8 points while adding 4.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the 61 games.

Gilas’ first assignment in the FIBA World Cup will be against Dominican Republic, which is expected to be bannered by three-time All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Aug. 25.

The Filipinos will also play against Angola on Aug. 27 and Italy on Aug. 29 in group stage.