Game on Thursday
(GBK Basketball Hall)
10 a.m. – Philippines vs Kazakhstan
JAKARTA – The Jordan Clarkson episode had just started and knowing what would happen in the first chapter, Yeng Guiao and the rest of the Rain or Shine – backed Pinoy cagers are ready to flip the next page and prepare for the task at hand.
On Thursday, the Filipinos will face their counterparts from Kazakhstan starting 10 a.m. (11 a.m. in Manila) as the Rain or Shine-backed squad plays without NBA player Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson, who was given a green light to play by the NBA after organizers from the Asian Games cleared him to see action, will arrive early Thursday, but Guiao decided to preserve the Cleveland Cavaliers guard for the bigger battle ahead against China.
Knowing that they’ve already resolved the situation concerning Clarkson’s availability gave Guiao and the rest of the basketball-loving nation a sigh of relief.
“It’s a relief, we’re excited. We’re happy. It kinda lifts up your morale, I guess and the whole country’s morale in that aspect that we can be a little bit more competitive,” Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines.
But Guiao and the coaching staff had prepared a game plan against the Kazakhs and that didn’t include Clarkson.
“We tried to focus on the job at hand. Of course, may epekto kahit papaano. But really, our focus was really to prepare and make do on what we have and be content on the situation. That was our mindset. We didn’t want us to affect us badly. We were really managing our expectations from the beginning. Madali naman siyang tanggapin kung sakali,” said Guiao.
“We’re prepared to play Kazakhstan without Jordan Clarkson. We feel we had a pretty good game plan. The coaching staff had done an excellent job scouting, the preparation in doing the mind-setting of the players. Everybody is making a contribution.”
Instead, Guiao said Clarkson’s presence alone would inspire them to carry the Pinoy cagers home as they try to get the job done and give them something to cheer about heading to their much-awaited game against the Chinese on the 21st where the NBA cager will get a chance to see action for the first time.
“He’s gonna be a big help. He’s a big impact to the team – psychologically and on the floor.”