Jordan Clarkson sets sight on winning Gilas’ classification games
MANILA, Philippines—Jordan Clarkson has no time to sulk over Gilas Pilipinas’ winless Group A campaign following a 90-83 loss to Italy on Tuesday as he shifts his focus to the classification games in the Fiba World Cup 2023.
It was a disappointing first round for the Philippines as it became the first World Cup host to lose all of its three matches since Colombia in 1982.
But Clarkson is moving on to Gilas’ last two games against the eliminated teams from Group B.
“[It was a] tough game but I think we competed in all three games. We came out here and gave our best efforts trying to figure out these games and get wins,” said Clarkson, who led Gilas with 23 points on 8-of-20 shooting including seven rebounds, and six assists.
“We just gotta make adjustments. For the last three games, the team has been playing the same way. We’re coming out here competing and trying to figure it out. We got to get a win and we came out winless in the group play. It didn’t turn out as we expected it to be. We gotta come back to the drawing board and figure it out,” he added.
The Utah Jazz star, who averaged 24.0 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds in the first round, said Gilas is remained locked in to get two wins for the home country heading to the classification round.
“We’re super motivated. From the beginning we’ve been motivated. The team is strong. We fight, we ain’t giving up throughout the whole game, Basketball is a game of missed shots and up and downs. What happens is we know how to string together runs and we go out there competing and fight til the end of the horn,” said Clarkson.
“We haven’t really felt like that we’ve been out in any games. We fighting. We’re strong mentally and we gonna put it together and try to get these two. We know what it means for the country. We’re gonna leave it all on the floor.”
Gilas, which was eliminated from its group along with Angola, is still waiting for its opponents from Group B.
Serbia has booked a slot in the second round and leads Group B with a 2-0 record. Puerto Rico and South Sudan are tied at 1-1, while China is winless in two games.
Serbia battles South Sudan, while China takes on Puerto Rico on Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum.
Clarkson is bracing for another string of tough games in the classification round from August 31 to September 3 where Gilas could likely face South Sudan and China.
“South Sudan physical and athletic team watched them play a few games. Their coaches are good as well I know Luol Deng and how he has put that program together over there. They got a young player, Wenyen Gabriel is over there as well. He’s athletic and runs the floor well,” Clarkson said of World Cup debutant South Sudan.
A battle against China will be Clarkson’s first since the 2018 Asian Games.
“China as well very familiar with that team. Kyle Anderson joining them as well and their big guy,” Clarkson said. “Two really good teams. We gotta come out here and put it together and win. That’s what we wanna do. We’re not coming out here to lose but we know these two teams are good. They’ve been put together well with size and everything. We’re ready to compete and fight.”