Barrios hopes other players imitate Jordan Clarkson's commitment to Gilas | Inquirer Sports

Barrios hopes other players imitate Jordan Clarkson’s commitment to Gilas

/ 06:52 PM August 09, 2022
Jordan Clarkson Philippines Gilas Pilipinas Asian Games

Philippines’ Jordan Clarkson leaves the court following his teams 82-80 loss to China in their men’s basketball game at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines — Jordan Clarkson will join Gilas Pilipinas six weeks before Fiba World Cup 2023, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios.

“He is committed to be available at least six weeks before the World Cup. We’re looking at having daily training starting April 29 as soon as the PBA ends. Assuming he will be our naturalized player for the World Cup, (our locals) will be together for more than two months by the time Jordan joins us,” said Barrios, who is also the federation spokesperson, in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.

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The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year will play in the fourth window of the Asian Qualifiers against Lebanon on August 25 and in his first home game against Saudi Arabia on August 29 at Mall of Asia Arena. But he has yet to give his arrival date and will miss the first day of Gilas practice on Monday.

Barrios said Clarkson’s late arrival should not be a problem since he is a certified NBA star.

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“He is not an ordinary NBA player. He’s a Tier 1 NBA player because of his caliber. He has a fast learning curve,” he said in Filipino. “The team won’t suffer with his participation, if he gets delayed by two days, three days, between the start on the 15th and by the time they leave.”

The SBP is also honored by how committed the Filipino-American guard is to the Gilas program.

“For a while, I personally was concerned, would he be willing to play in Lebanon? He said yes. I don’t mind. That is how he is committed, kaya nga nakakataba ng puso ang enthusiasm niya at commitment niya, na sana parisan ng iba nating mga kasamang player na tina-tap natin (That’s why it’s heartwarming. I hope the other players we’re trying to get to play share the same enthusiasm and commitment as him),” Barrios said.

“He is very raring to go. Itong si Jordan na NBA player, masigasig na masigasig na lumaro para sa bayan natin (Jordan, an NBA player, is very enthusiastic to play for our country. I hope all of our quote-unquote locals will have the same enthusiasm as Jordan),” he added.

With his status as a naturalized player already final, Clarkson’s commitment to the World Cup would mean that Ange Kouame has to take a step back which the Ateneo big man understands, according to Barrios.

“Ange is aware of that. But, you know, it doesn’t mean Ange’s naturalization will go to waste. Because remember, Clarkson will not be around for window 5, for window 6 and for the Southeast Asian Games. Ange will still play a lot of games,” he said.

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TAGS: Fiba World Cup 2023, Gilas Pilipinas, Jordan Clarkson
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