Jordan Clarkson, Kai Sotto to miss Gilas’ pre-Fiba World Cup tune-ups
MANILA, Philippines–Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto, two integral cogs for the Philippines in the Fiba World Cup, are expected to miss Gilas Pilipinas’ string of tune-up games geared towards the global meet.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement on Friday afternoon in a lengthy statement released to media outlets where president Al Panlilio called on for the Filipinos’ continued support.
“Except for Clarkson, who has one more year left in his contract with the Utah Jazz and is reportedly looking to either negotiate a new deal or test the free market, and Sotto, who is eyeing a stint in the NBA Summer League, the active players in the pool are on call for scheduled pre-World Cup pocket tournaments,” the SBP said.
The Gilas brain trust has long arranged a pair of friendlies against Finland and Estonia on their home turf even before the squad flew for the Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
A contest against Latvia has been added while a pair of matches against Lithuanian pro clubs are being considered, team manager Butch Antonio said in an interview with SEA Games Network earlier this week.
Also being lined up is a pocket tournament set in China where the Philippines could be battling Iran, Lebanon, Senegal, and another team from South America.
Clarkson and Sotto banner a 21-man World Cup pool the SBP unveiled late Tuesday night. Also in the bunch are two other options for the naturalized spot: Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.
Japeth Aguilar and June Mar Fajardo, two big men who also saw action in two previous editions of the World Cup, banner the lot from the PBA that includes Scottie Thompson, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Poy Erram, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome and Calvin Oftana.
Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., Carl Tamayo, Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena, Jordan Heading, and Rhenz Abando—standouts plying their trades in Japan and Korea—were also named in the selection.
Rounding out the cast is AJ Edu, a 6-foot-10 center who last played for Batang Gilas in the U-19 World Cup.