Clarkson Clarkson and Sotto. FIBA photo

Clarkson, Fajardo power Gilas over Ivory Coast

August 19, 2023 Robert Andaya 427 views

NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson provided the spark with a game-high 13 points — all in the first quarter — as the Philippines clobbered Ivory Coast, 85-62, in their closed-door tuneup game before the FIBA World Cup 2023 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Clarkson, who played for Gilas for the first time since the fourth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last August, also finished with six rebounds, one assist and one steal in 24 minutes of action.

The 31-year-old Filipino-American, who arrived in Manila only last Aug. 8, had plenty of support in the first of three tune-up games for the Filipinos leading to the World Cup.

Six-time PBA Most Valuable Player, June Mar Fajardo also finished with 13 points, AJ Edu added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Scottie Thompson contributed 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Kai Sotto, who is still trying to get his groove back after hurting his back during a brief stint with the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas last month, had 10 points, four rebounds and one block.

Dwight Ramos, Japeth Aguilar, Rhenz Abando, Roger Pogoy, CJ Perez and Kiefer Ravena also came through for the Filipinos, who settled the outcome of the match with a 25-9 fourth-quarter showing.

Only three players –Calvin Oftana, Ray Parks Jr. and Thirdy Ravena.– were not fielded in by Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.

Reyes said he will use the three tuneup games before finalizing the composition of the 12-man national team on Aug. 33

Bazoumana Kone and Maxence Dadiet topscored for Ivory Coast with 12 points each.

The Philippines will play world No. 18 Montenegro on Sunday and world No. 31 Mexico on Monday.

The scores:

Philippines (85) — Clarkson 13, Fajardo 13, Edu 12, Thompson 11, Sotto 10, Ramos 7, Aguilar 6, Abando 5, Pogoy 4, Perez 3, K. Ravena 1, Malonzo 0, Newsome 0.
Ivory Coast (62) — Kone 12, Dadiet 12, Sidibe 8, Tape 6, V. Fofana 5, Zouzoua 5, Dally 3, Diabate 3, Moulare 2, Abouo 2, Bah 2, Traore 2, M. Fofana 0.
Quarterscores: 27-24, 42-38, 60-53, 85-62.