Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024
Jordan Clarkson gilas pilipinas fiba world cup

Jordan Clarkson will be a huge asset for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup. –FIBA BASKETBALL

Jordan Clarkson’s caliber as an NBA standout says a lot about his value in Gilas Pilipinas, but national coach Chot Reyes said that the Utah Jazz star has been providing the training squad with a lot of zest in practices.

“[He] definitely [provides] renewed energy in practice,” Reyes told reporters on Tuesday afternoon during a partnership launch between Max’s and the national team.

“Not that we don’t have very energetic practices. We’ve always had very high-energy, high-quality practices, but obviously, the arrival of Jordan put an added layer into that. I’m very happy,” he went on.

Clarkson returned to his grandmother’s home country Tuesday last week and immediately rejoined the training squad at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City the next day.

‘JUST ONE THE GUYS’

Jordan Clarkson NBA Gilas Pilipinas Fiba World Cup

Jordan Clarkson during his first practice with Gilas Pilipinas ahead of the Fiba World Cup.

Reyes said the national program is really high on Clarkson as he “doesn’t demand to be treated differently.”

“I’ve always said this before. Whenever Jordan’s here, he’s just one of the guys,” the concurrent program director said. “He goes through everything that everybody else is doing.”

“If his team loses a certain drill and they need to do 10 push-ups as their [penalty] he will do the same things. If he needs to run sprints, he will do the same … that’s a very positive [thing] … that’s why we really like to have him around.”

Clarkson, who was at the cutting edge of the Gilas attack in the fourth window of the World Cup’s Asian Qualifiers, is set to reprise his role when the big dance rolls around on Aug. 25.

However, stakes will be higher—and the burden on Clarkson’s shoulders heavier—this time out as Gilas aims to finish the tournament as the finest among Asian teams. Doing so will mean a spot in the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France, next year.

The Philippines battles the Dominican Republic on opening night, Angola on Aug. 27, and then World No. 10 Italy on Aug. 29. Gilas could play more games should it finish in the top two of the group phase.

Gilas’ last victory in the World Cup came in 2014, when Reyes and his charges nipped Senegal, 81-79, in Seville, Spain.

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