Jordan Clarkson arriving in Manila Tuesday to join Gilas’ World Cup prep
MANILA, Philippines-Help is on the way for Gilas Pilipinas with Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson finally leaving Los Angeles for Manila.
Photos on social media swirled Monday morning (Manila time) showing the program’s naturalized ace for the Fiba World Cup taking photos just before checking in for a nonstop 15-hour flight aboard Philippine Airlines’ PR 103.
Clarkson, barring any delays, is scheduled to arrive in the capital around 5:40 a.m. Tuesday. He is expected to report for Gilas training by Wednesday, once the Nationals resume practice following their short stint in the Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in Guangdong, China.
The Filipino-American, who traces his Filipino roots to his grandmother who was born in Bacolor town in Pampanga, will be at the cutting edge of the Gilas attack when the global showcase kicks off in Manila, Okinawa, and Jakarta on Aug. 25.
“We’ve been in constant communication. We’ve been talking about offenses, some concepts, about things, I’ve been messaging him about plans and what his role is going to be and he’s assured me that he’s in pretty good shape, he’s been working out, and working on his skills,” national coach Chot Reyes said in a recent radio interview.
“I think the number one thing I can expect is that he’s in basketball shape. Maybe not in top-game shape, but he’ll have a couple of weeks to get there. As you know, a player of that caliber, that should be enough. So the only issue now is the integration.
The good thing is he’s not coming in cold. He’s been with us before, he knows a little bit of what we’re doing already, and he knows the guys.”
Gilas is scheduled to play Iran again for its last outing in Heyuan on Monday night. The Nationals are currently 2-1 in the pocket tournament being used to prime and plot for the World Cup.
The Philippines is bunched with the Dominican Republic, Angola, and world No. 10 Italy in the group phase of the showcase that will also send the top-performing Asian nation to the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France, next year.