JORDAN Clarkson has blended very well with his Gilas Pilipinas teammates in the few days since he arrived to join the team's buildup for the fourth window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asia qualifiers.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios said Clarkson has built a rapport with the team since joining practice just last Saturday ahead of games against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia this week.
Barrios added Clarkson has also acclimatized with the system of head coach Chot Reyes, which was already expected because of his high basketball IQ.
“As expected, ‘yung tinatawag na learning curve niya sa mga plays, napakabilis,” said Barrios during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “’Yung lahat ng mga katabi ko na nanood ng practice, iisa lang ang komentaryo nila, 'Iba ang kilos ni Jordan.'
"He is just one cut above the rest if I may say so without downplaying the ability of our players. But iba ang kilos ni Jordan. ‘Yung quickstep niya, ‘yung ballhandling niya, and of course, his shooting inside and out. Really admirable.”
As far as his relationship with his teammates, Barrios said: “Okay na okay. Unang-una, he is one guy who is very proud to be Filipino. Ineembrace niya ‘yung pagka-Pinoy niya. Maganda ang samahan ng ating koponan.”
Barrios said Clarkson also looks forward to playing alongside a new batch of Gilas Pilipinas players totally different from the ones he was with during his first stint with the national team at the 2018 Asian Games.
“Nakita niya na maraming bata ngayon. Hindi na ‘yung mga dati niyang nakasama noon sa Asian Games. Marami na ang wala doon. He adopts very well. And he can relate to the three senior coaches, Chot, Tim, and Jong,” said Barrios.
Barrios said Clarkson has also brought in positive vibes within the team, noticing that the Utah Jazz star interacts with his fellow players and even participates in the squad’s traditional halfcourt three-point shooting contest.
“Aside from the high energy na napansin ko prevailing sa buong team, as far as Jordan is concerned, pati ‘yung side interaction sa kapwa, very comfortable… As far as cohesion is concerned, magandang maganda. Very promising and very nice to watch silang magkakasama,” said Barrios.
With what he is seeing, Barrios said he won't be surprised if Clarkson pours in the offensive numbers for Gilas in its match-up against Lebanon this Thursday (Friday early morning Philippine time).
“Of course, ang nakita ko, mas matured-looking na si Jordan than the last time we saw him in the Asian Games. Pero iba talaga ang kilos niya. ‘Yung NBA material, ibang iba talaga,” Barrios added.
"Easily, 20 25 (points) per game itong mama na 'to. Sana naman," said Barrios.