By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player Jordan Clarkson finally confirmed his timetable as he is set to arrive in Manila on August 8, 2023, for Gilas Pilipinas’ last phase of their intensive training camp.
According to Gilas’ head coach Chot Reyes, Clarkson will not be flying with the team to China for the 2023 Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament and will head straight to the country.
This will be a crucial participation for the NBA’s former Sixth Man of the Year as he will only be having two weeks of practice with the national team before the FIBA World Cup kicks off.
Clarkson announced his commitment to the national team last July 25, 2023, after finishing his off-season negotiations with the Utah Jazz.
The Filipino-American guard failed to travel with the team to Europe a month ago and was also absent during several tune-up games against the PHL-based basketball teams.
Despite a short window of time for the NBA talent, Clarkson already had a glimpse of what head coach Reyes likes to run system-wise.
Clarkson donned the blue and white national team colors during the second-to-the-last FIBA Asian qualifiers and produced an impressive 25.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in just two games.
With the load of NBA talent from the competing teams that Gilas will be facing, it is with no doubt why the coaching staff still opted to choose Clarkson over Justin Brownlee.
Dominican Republic, Gilas’ first opponent, reportedly added the NBA frontcourt duo of Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Al Horford from the Boston Celtics.
Gilas will kick off its FIBA World Cup campaign on August 25, 2023, and will play the Dominican Republic in its first game to be held at the Philippine Arena.