Under contract with the Utah Jazz until 2024, the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year won’t be available for the final two qualifying windows of the Fiba Basketball World Cup but has committed to play in the August games and in the big event itself next year.
Gilas had been eyeing two players as candidates for naturalization ahead of the but plans fell through as both got signed by NBA teams.
“For a while, I personally was concerned. Would he be willing to play in Lebanon? And he said ‘Yes, I don’t mind.’ Ganun siya ka-committed kaya nakakataba ng puso ‘yung enthusiasm niya at commitment niya na sana parisan ng atijng mga ibang kasama na player na tinatap natin,” said Barrios.
Barrios said there is still no timetable for Clarkson’s arrival, but the coaching staff doesn’t mind him coming in late.
“Wala pang final date. Unfortunately, ang isang final, wala pa siya by Monday, ’yung start ng practice. Ang kagandahan ni Clarkson, ’yung tinatawag na learning curve niya, because of his caliber, hindi siya ordinaryong NBA player. Tier one NBA player, ‘yung learning curve niya mabilis. ‘Yun ’yung inaasahan natin na hindi magsusuffer ’yung participation niya if he gets delayed by two days, three days,” said Barrios.
Big boost ahead of the August qualifiers as Jordan Clarkson rejoins Gilas.
The Gilas coaching staff wants Clarkson to be able to familiarize himself with the system and this early, join the local players in actual competition.
“Si Mr. Clarkson, inengage natin for this window kasi hindi siya available sa Window 5 (November 2022) and Window 6 (February 2023). But it is mutual. We want him to get a feel of the team we have now or at least the pool that we are using nowadays,” said Barrios on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
Figuring out the best combination of players by seeing them in competition is a big plus, says Barrios.
“Maraming players na tinatry natin kasi ang approach is we have the luxury of looking at different talents available to us between now and when we go hard training beginning April 29 next year. We have that luxury kasi qualified na tayo.”
“Kaya maganda ’yung sitwasyon natin kasi ’yung mga titignan natin na available talents, hindi lang sa practice natin kikilatisin. Sa actual competition natin sila kikilatisin kung paano at kung sino ba,” said Barrios.
Clarkson is part of the pool being formed ahead of the game against Fiba Asia Cup runner-up Lebanon on Aug. 25 at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut and Saudi Arabia on Aug. 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
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