Fiba World Cup: Jordan Clarkson lauds Gilas Pilipinas teammates
MANILA, Philippines —Gilas Pilipinas star Jordan Clarkson said he has been impressed most by teammates Roger Pogoy, Dwight Ramos, and AJ Edu in their Fiba World Cup campaign.
The Philippines is out of the race for a spot in the second round after coming up short in their three games capped by a heartbreaking 90-83 defeat to Italy on Tuesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But Clarkson said he was proud of how Gilas Pilipinas fought until the end of the game.
“I think everybody, down the line. Everybody has been coming out here in the competition,” said Clarkson in the postgame press conference.
The NBA star was also surprised with Pogoy’s play after scoring nine points against the Azzurri, making his jump shots off a post.
“Roger is a guy that I really didn’t know much about coming in but seeing how he can shoot the ball. Last game he was showing up his post-up game, posting up smaller defenders,” said Clarkson of the TNT winger, who averaged 7.7 points in the first round.
The Utah Jazz guard knew that Ramos would also step up for Gilas after seeing the Japan B.League star’s game in the World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“Dwight has always impressed me. The way he approaches the game, kind of plays his role. He’s aggressive,” Clarkson said of Ramos, who scored 14 points against the Italians.
Clarkson also lauded Edu’s defense, which also impressed Karl-Anthony Towns during their first game against the Dominican Republic last week at Philippine Arena.
“His defense has been really well. In the first game, he had to challenge against KAT. He really did a good job just forcing him into different shots. I know KAT is really talented player, an NBA guy,” he said.
Clarkson remained eager to win in Gilas Pilipinas’ last two games in the classification round with a chance to emerge as the best Asian team for an automatic 2024 Paris Olympics ticket.
“Down the line, I think everybody really played hard and played well,” he said.