Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes had the luxury of finding great combinations that work during his team’s 84-46 demolition of Saudi Arabia on Monday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.
First, Reyes learned how well Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson clicks with the 7’3” Kai Sotto and other players who had opportunities to score.
Then, Reyes took note of what it would be like to put two big guys like Sotto and Japeth Aguilar underneath to protect the boards.
“Yes, there’s still some guys we’d like to look at,” said Reyes after Team Philippines demolished the visitors in their final game in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ fourth window.
Reyes added that the combos that he was observing will help the squad be more versatile in the future.
“Our offense and defense is being predicated by what the opponent is giving us,” added Reyes in a postgame huddle.
It was the first time that he was able to look into such combinations in a game situation, with Clarkson around and many newbies blending in.
“We have a lot of first timers in the team. It was important for us to see the new guys,” added Reyes, referring to the presence of Calvin Oftana and Roosevelt Adams.
Fans adored Clarkson, who struck with 23 points, hauled down five rebounds and had six assists for Team Philippines.
For Reyes, getting Clarkson to join up and play together with the rest of Gilas was important, after they were done with their games with Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Among the memorable moments seen during the Saudi game was when Clarkson assisted Sotto for a dunk and Gilas tied the count at 18-all.
The coaching staff also noted the 6’4” Clarkson’s assist to Dwight Ramos, whose basket gave them a 27-23 lead.
Clarkson’s leadership on the floor was also seen, as he passed on to teammates who had open shots, like with Jamie Malonzo, who had scoring chances during the second period.