PH wants farewell gift for Clarkson
JAKARTA—With an improved finish already sealed, Gilas Pilipinas battles Syria on Friday shooting for a win for fifth place which will not only give Jordan Clarkson a going-away present but also allow the team to finish the 18th Asian Games on a high note at Istana Coliseum here.
“We’re going all out for it,” coach Yeng Guiao said of the 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. in Manila) match with the Syrians, who aren’t necessarily at the same level with the Filipinos as far as skill level on the floor is concerned.
But the team is not taking its foe lightly.
Clarkson will not plane back to Manila together with the rest of the team, needing to go back directly to the United States to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers with NBA camp starting in just over a week.
“That’s why we want to give him some sort of a going-away present,” Guiao said as Clarkson played his heart out with the Nationals despite coming over on such short notice and won one game in three outings with the squad.
The Philippines is actually 2-2 overall in the Asiad, counting a 96-59 victory over Kazakhstan, which Clarkson watched from the bench. It was also the first time Clarkson met Guiao and the rest of the team.
But the Nationals eventually suffered two heart-rending defeats, coming at the hands of China and later on against South Korea, which dropped them out of the medal hunt.
A 113-80 win over Japan on Tuesday, however, assured Gilas that it bettered its seventh place finish in the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea.
“We fell a little short,” Gabe Norwood, who was also a part of that 2014 team, said. “But anytime you have the chance to play for the country and achieve something is great. Fifth place is really not that bad.”
Meanwhile, in volleyball, the women’s team battles Kazakhstan at 2:30 p.m. to start its consolation round, with a win allowing the Filipinos to advance to the match for fifth spot.
The Filipinos are still licking the wounds of a 25-15, 25-9, 25-7 loss at the hands of world No. 1 China late Wednesday night—their worst defeat in their return to the Games for the first time in 36 years—in the quarterfinals and would need to win over the Kazakhs for a chance at No. 5 against either Indonesia or Vietnam.
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