How is National Basketball Association star Jordan Clarkson blending with his Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team members, most of whom he just met for the first time?
“As expected, his learning curve with his teammates is napakabilis,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios, who on Monday announced the 13-man Gilas Pilipinas pool that will travel to Beirut for the Philippines’ match against Lebanon on Aug. 25.
“Maganda ang samahan niya with the team. Mas bata ngayon ‘yung other members of the team. Wala na ‘yung mga dating nakasama niya sa Asian Games,” Barrios added.
Clarkson wore the Philippine team uniform for the first time during the Asian Games in Jakarta Indonesia in 2018. They placed fifth.
He is coming back this time a better, wiser player.
“Iba talaga ang kilos ni Clarkson. Not to undermine the talents of other players in the team, but he’s a cut above the rest. He’s shooting inside and out, just admirable,” added Barrios.
According to Barrios, Clarkson is “adapting very well and seems to be happy with what he is doing as a player representing the Philippines.”
“His interaction with other players is commendable. There’s a half-court fun game after practice na parang agawang buko. Pati utility kasama. Nagpa-participate siya. Masaya siya.”
“He’s one guy who’s always proud to be a Filipino,” added Barrios.
Clarkson arrived in the country on Friday night aboard a Philippine Airlines flight from Los Angeles. The family of his mother Annette Tullao Davis hails from Bacolor,Pampanga.
Always committed to carrying the Philippine national flag whenever his schedule permits, Clakson will be playing as a naturalized player pending the result of SBP’s appeal to FIBA regarding his status.
The 30-year-old NBA Sixth Man awardee will be teaming up with Filipino top-notch center Kai Sotto, who arrived a day earlier from Australia where he plays as an import for Adelaide 76ers.
The two will lead the Chot Reyes-coached Philippine squad that will face Lebanon on Aug. 25 and Saudi Arabia at home on Aug. 29.