By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team will have to be prepared when they fly to Europe for a series of tune-up games as the duo of NBA star Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto are set to miss a week of training camp.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) already confirmed that both Clarkson and Sotto will be missing the trip to Europe and is their first step in their preparations for the upcoming FIBA World Cup on August 25, 2023.
The national basketball team will face Estonia and Lithuania in their Europe camp and will be represented by some members of the 21-man pool that was released by the SBP several days ago.
However, the SBP is yet to name the players that will participate in their upcoming international trip next week.
In the case of Clarkson, the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year is still looking to finalize his contract with the Utah Jazz or test the waters of the free agency pool once the NBA Finals will be over.
The scoring machine still got one more eligible playing year in his contract with the Jazz but is reportedly seeking free agency options this off-season.
Meanwhile, Sotto, who will be trying his fate for the second time in the NBA Rookie Draft, is joining the mini-camp of the New York Knicks.
Sotto did confirm that he will be rejoining Gilas after a series of mini-camps in the NBA but didn’t disclose what month.
“Except for Clarkson and Sotto, the active players in the pool are on call for scheduled pre-World Cup pocket tournaments and tune-up matches in Europe against the Estonian national team, Finland, Lithuania and Latvia,” said SBP in their official statement.
Completing the 21-man pool of Gilas for the FIBA World Cup are Chris Newsome, CJ Perez, RR Pogoy, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Oftana, Dwight Ramos, Carl Tamayo, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Jordan Heading, Rhenz Abando, AJ Edu, Ange Kouame, Justin Brownlee, and Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena.