Even though Gilas Pilipinas mentor Chot Reyes has not assured a slot for Jordan Clarkson, the National Basketball Association star from the Utah Jazz has reaffirmed his commitment to the FIBA World Cup the country is hosting in August.
In an article published on FIBA’s official website, Clarkson is looking forward to sold-out games, ready to feel his countrymen’s love once again.
“Just being able to represent it, go out there and compete … just to see the love. In the Philippines, basketball is like the number one thing,” Clarkson was quoted as saying.
“Just being able to have all those teams, countries come,” he said. “I’ll be in the host city. Hosts in the World Cup. It’s going to be an amazing experience, people seeing the country, being able to experience that.”
While most Filipino basketball fans welcome Clarkson’s return with open arms, his World Cup stint in Gilas uniforms still hangs in the air as Reyes said no one is assured of a slot yet, including for the NBA star player’s slot.
Ginebra’s resident import Justin Brownlee recently became a naturalized import and saw action for Gilas in the final window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifier, where he left quite an impression.
Clarkson also played in two Asian Qualifiers, where he averaged 25 points 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. His stature as a legitimate global basketball star makes him the biggest attraction in the Gilas squad.
As it is, Clarkson wouldn’t hold back his excitement to play again for the country where his mother came from.
“Seeing the love people have for basketball there,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if every game is sold out. It’s going to be really loud there and everybody is going to feel that love and support when you walk around the city while playing games,” Clarkson said.