Aside from being the focal point on offense, Jordan Clarkson will also assume the leadership role when Gilas Pilipinas competes in the FIBA Basketball World Cup
from 25 August to 10 September.
Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said he expects the 31-year-old Clarkson to lead his local teammates using the wealth of experience he gained while playing with the best players in the world in the National Basketball Association.
“The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack,” Reyes said in a television interview.
“As much as Jordan is going to be a huge part of the offense, he cannot do it alone and he will need the others to be doing and performing their own roles for him to be at his most effective.”
Clarkson is tipped to attract a lot of defenders.
Aside from having an elite offensive game, the 6-foot-5 former NBA Sixth Man of the Year also has an excellent basketball IQ that made him one of the best players in the world.
No less than Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio was in awe seeing Clarkson play with his Filipino teammates in a closed-door practice.
“He sees things which were hardly seen by other players,” Panlilio said. “That’s why he is an NBA All-Star.”
Reyes said their training with Clarkson is going well.
In fact, he will be put into test when Gilas face Ivory Coast, Montenegro and Mexico in a series of friendly matches that will serve as the basis for plotting the final roster.
“When Jordan is doing his thing, it opens up for the others as well. That’s where we’re at. Using the word ‘integration,’ it’s really a seamless coming together of all different moving parts,” Reyes said.
“Like what I’ve said, we wish him more time, but we’re working with what we’ve been dealt. We’ve been having very good practices the past week. We just hope to continue that this week.”
“We finally have our complete roster this week when Scottie Thompson resumed practice with us. We are now in the final stages of preparation, our focus and intentional state.”