Jordan Clarkson won’t be with Gilas in China tournament

Jordan Clarkson Gilas Pilipinas vs Lebanon Fiba fourth window

FILE – Jordan Clarkson. Photo by Fiba

MANILA, Philippines-Gilas Pilipinas will also miss NBA star Jordan Clarkson when it takes on Senegal and Iran twice in a pocket tournament in China, this week.

National coach Chot Reyes bared the development on Tuesday, just before the contingent—already thinned by the absences of 7-foot-3 big man Kai Sotto and do-it-all playmaker Scottie Thompson—departed for Heyuan City in Guangdong province.

“We thought he’s arriving Aug. 6 but it turns out he’s leaving (Los Angeles) Aug. 6, so he should be arriving Aug. 8. He won’t play in China,” national coach Chot Reyes told reporters rather tersely.

Reyes said last weekend that the Gilas management was not sure whether the Aug. 6 date set meant Clarkson’s departure from the United States or his arrival in China.

Still, the concurrent program director is to be optimistic, stressing Clarkson’s familiarity with Gilas.

“Jordan knows what we’re doing. It’s not like he’s coming in blind or coming in for the first time. He’s an NBA player, a professional. Yes, there will be a lot of adjustment that needs to be done, a lot of familiarity [he ought to cover] but he’s not coming in blind.”

Jordan Clarkson Kai Sotto Gilas Pilipinas

FILE – Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto during Gilas Pilipinas’ game against Saudi Arabia in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers at Araneta Coliseum. Photo by Fiba

Clarkson has been chosen by the national federation as Gilas’ naturalized player for the Aug. 25 showcase, bumping off the beloved Justin Brownlee who has been practicing with the talent pool for weeks.

Sotto opted out of the short meet citing a back problem he sustained during his NBA Summer League stint. Thompson, meanwhile, has been healing his fractured hand and is projected to be cleared Aug. 18, according to his coach at Ginebra and Reyes’ Gilas deputy and close pal Tim Cone.

Gilas plays Iran first at Heyuan Sport Gymnasium on Thursday night, and then Senegal on Friday Jiangman En Ping Sports Gymnasium. The Philippines go for another crack at the Africans and their old Asian tormentors on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

A pair of friendlies against Montenegro and Mexico have been lined up for the Nationals, who are playing Italy, the Dominican Republic and Angola in the group phase of the quadrennial meet offering a pathway into the Paris Summer Olympics set next year.


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