JORDAN Clarkson, as expected, was magnificent in the first two quarters in his first home game for Gilas Pilipinas as it took a 37-28 halftime lead over Saudi Arabia on Monday in the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Utah Jazz guard played all but three minutes and 16 seconds of the first half and he led the way for the Philippines with 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
His three from deep in the right wing served as a prologue for the four treys he hit as he kept the Filipinos afloat in a low-scoring first half.
It was only late in the second period when Dwight Ramos sparked a 10-0 blast with an emphatic dunk did Gilas recover and take a 35-23 lead capped off by a Clarkson corner three with 1:13 left in the frame.
Ramos has six points, four boards, and two assists in the first two frames. Kai Sotto was also a bastion down low with his five points and eight rebounds as the Philippines hold a slight edge on the boards, 28 to 21.
Gilas, however, has been too tentative in its attack, chasing highlights and being too unselfish that allowed the bulkier Saudi Arabia to take an early six-point lead.