JAKARTA – The inclusion of Jordan Clarkson to the Rain or Shine-backed Pilipinas men’s basketball team to the Asian Games will certainly make the team better.
A talented guard who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, Clarkson will finally get a chance to play for the Philippine squad when he arrives Thursday.
Yeng Guiao, recalled to handle the national team following a series of unfortunate incidents that happened with Gilas Pilipinas, will get the first crack of coaching the Fiipino NBA guard.
“It’s a distinct honor and of course, a privilege. At the same time, there’s a lot of expectations. It feels satisfying as a coach to handle such a talent,” Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines.
Three years ago, Clarkson joined Gilas Pilipinas workout when the then Tab Baldwin-mentored squad was still preparing for the FIBA Asia Championship.
But it was only this year that Clarkson was made available when the NBA allowed him an exception to participate in the quadrennial meet.
For Guiao, Clarkson’s talent is definitely hard to pass up but there are also challenges along the way in coaching such a skilled player of his caliber.
“You have to look at it as a challenge to bring out not only the best in him, but also the whole team. The crucial factor here is with his talent and the talent that we have, how can we maximize that talent and the people that we have here to work together. Hindi naman yan magic eh na nagkaroon ka lang ng Clarkson bigla kang lalakas,” Guiao said.
With Clarkson coming in, the Philippine squad has become loaded particularly in the backcourt where he joins the explosive tandem of Paul Lee and Stanley Pringle, Gabe Norwood, Maverick Ahanmisi and Chris Tiu.
“There’s still a challenge in front of us. He’s a great individual player and for that alone, he already added something to the team. The challenge for all of us is maximize that talent, that great skills of his in order to make all the others around him look good.”
Guiao, however, made it clear that Clarkson will only be utilized more in their game against China.
“I’m really very excited. But as I said, we’re not waving a magic wand and make happen whatever you want to happen. We have a few days before the China game. It would be unfair for him to let him play a few hours after coming off the plane. Unfair din yun to him. Our China game is on the 21st, so I think we still have four days to practice. It’s not an instant thing that could magically turn our chances around,” added Guiao.
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