REGARDLESS of everyone's feelings towards Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, Jordan Clarkson said that the beleaguered mentor is still part of the team and whatever criticism he takes is also felt by the whole squad.
"He’s part of us and he’s one of us," he said on the heels of the Philippines' 84-46 win over Saudi Arabia in the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers on Monday.
"Booing him in the crowd, whatever is going on, I’m not here a lot throughout the years so I don’t really know what’s going on. But seeing these last days, he kinda received some boos here and skip my language, I don’t know if I’m getting fined by Fiba for cussing but yeah, he’s our coach. He’s one of us. He works hard. He put us all together. From when I’ve been here, he poured it all out in the game."
[READ: Dwight Ramos speaks out on boos against Chot]
Clarkson stuck by Reyes amid the chorus of jeers directed at the under-fire coach all game long as fans were unrelenting in heckling the mentor whenever his face was shown on the giant screens.
The Utah Jazz shooter backed Reyes through all of the negativity, saying, "He ain't gone none of that shit. He ain't got to deal with none of those boos. He’s coming back to this game cause he love it. He loves the country. He loves this team and each and everyone of us."
Clarkson even shared that it was Reyes who actually reached out to him and first floated the idea of being part of the Gilas program even when he was still at University of Tulsa.
"To be honest with you, coach Chot was the first person to talk to me about 10 years go just going into college," he said. "So just being here, sitting next to him, it’s all we’ve envisioned."
That's why he feels its unfair for Reyes to get this kind of vitriol.
"Honestly, this is all been a blessing and for somebody who’s putting this together, bringing me and Kai [Sotto], his dream, his vision coming into the game, like I said, it’s bullshit so I think we all just support him and support what he got going home," he said.
"This next World Cup, whatever he got, we have each other’s backs. We'll support each other going through this. That’s all I got to say about that."
He ended: "I’m here with my coach. I know everybody in the locker room is, from the top, MVP and everybody. People didn’t appreciate that at all so moving forward, I think we need to change our actions and show some love and peace here."