Norwood not threatened, says Jordan Clarkson arrival a big morale boost for Gilas
Fil-American guard Jordan Clarkson is all smiles in Gilas practice. Jerome Ascano

THEY are more or less the same height and play the same position, but Gabe Norwood insisted he is in no way threatened by the arrival of Fil-American guard Jordan Clarkson in the Gilas Pilipinas practice.

Instead, Norwood welcomed the arrival of the Los Angeles Lakers guard, saying it will be a big boost in morale and popularity for the team bound for the Fiba Asia championships set from September 23 to October 3 in Changsha, China.

"No challenge, I mean, there's a lot of guys that play the position on the team now, I don't think it'll be different," said Norwood, one of a handful of holdovers from the Gilas team that saw action in the 2013 Fiba Asia showpiece in Manila.

"Hopefully it's a morale booster, just knowing we have another NBA talent outside of Andray (Blatche) on the court. For the country, I think it's a boost to have another Filipino out there, playing for the best of his country," he added.

[See SBP working covertly to get Lakers permission for Clarkson's Gilas stint]

The high-flying Rain or Shine combo guard, however, was quick to manage expectations over Clarkson's arrival.

"In terms of popularity, it's a big boost. Hopefully, we are not putting undue pressure on Jordan coming in, to guarantee any type of victory or things like that," he said.

"It's up for all of us to come out and work. There's no guarantee in basketball. Hopefully, It's an added boost and not added pressure (for all of us)," added the top pick overall of the2008 PBA draft.

Hours before joining Clarkson in Gilas practice, Norwood couldn't hide his excitement.

"It'll be fun, anytime you have an NBA talent on the court. It's a good time. I'm all for it, so I am hoping (his playing with us) gets done," he said.

Norwood also looks forward to picking the brain of  someone who has played alongside Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

"Hopefully, we can learn from the whole experience. It's his first time playing internationally, it's a little bit of a different game. But overall, we want to pick his brain, things he's learned as a pro, playing with a great guy like Kobe (Bryant), playing against great players," Norwood said.

"But we'll probably have more questions (for him to answer) than (learn) things on the court. But anytime you got a guy who's playing against the best players in the world today, he can help us."


View VIDEO of interview with Norwood:

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