Jordan Clarkson arrives in Manila to formally join Gilas

Published August 19, 2022, 8:31 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes said earlier that we can’t be so sure about Jordan Clarkson’s participation with the national team until he finally sets foot on his mother’s home soil.

Photo from Jhay Oh Otamias

On Friday night, Aug. 19, all of those reluctance should be shrugged aside as the Utah Jazz star had finally landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to join the national team’s preparations for the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Clarkson arrived in a Philippine Airlines flight straight from Los Angeles at 6:30 p.m. and was immediately mobbed by members of the press, fans and curious on-lookers as he was being escorted to the VIP lounge of the NAIA Terminal 2.

The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year awardee was later on fetched by representatives from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

One of the most high profile players to don the national tri-colors, Clarkson is expected to give Gilas Pilipinas a huge boost when it takes on the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 silver medalist Lebanon which will be led by tournament MVP Wael Arakji on the road in Beirut on Aug. 25.

Clarkson will then play his first game in the country when Gilas hosts Saudi Arabia at the Mall of Asia Arena on Aug. 29.

It will be Clarkson’s second tour of duty with the national team after first joining the Gilas team during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The 30-year-old NBA veteran is also one of the players being eyed by SBP to lead the national team in the FIBA World Cup which the country will be co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia on August, next year.