Jordan Clarkson’s presence elevates everyone at Gilas Pilipinas, says AJ Edu

So far, the presence of Jordan Clarkson has been overwhelmingly positive.

Gilas Pilipinas is racing against the clock to incorporate the Utah Jazz stalwart into its system in preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, and his teammates are pleased with what they’ve seen so far.

AJ Edu and Calvin Oftana bared that their training intensified upon the arrival of their NBA-caliber teammate.

“When you have high-level players join it elevates everyone else, especially when you have someone like Jordan. It’s impacted us in a good way,” said Edu during an interview with Noli Eala on the former PBA commissioner’s Power & Play program.

Oftana, on the other hand, was inspired to play alongside the Filipino-American who joined team practices just the previous week.

“Iba din talaga ang high-caliber player at from the highest league pa. It’s a big thing for us and we’re happy na nandyan na sila para makuha ang sistema natin,” said the TNT Tropang Giga guard.

“Knowing JC na nakasama ko na dati, he can produce numbers that can help us and the team. Siyempre NBA-caliber ‘yung tao,” he added.

The pool has been whittled down to its final 16 players, and coach Chot Reyes is expected to announce the Final 12 on the eve of the quadrennial games.

Oftana and Edu both expressed their excitement at the prospect of being selected for the national team’s final roster.

“Nandoon naman ang pressure talaga in playing at home. Nakakakaba pero ‘yun pressure is a good thing. Fans ang magpapaboost sa mga players na maglaro pa. Sobrang excited kami na first time maglaro sa harap ng mga Pilipino,” said Oftana.

Edu, meanwhile, stated that even if they do not make the cut, he will still be proud of being named to the pool.

“There will be an element of disappointment, but the end of the day it’s a blessing to be a part of the pool. You’re still part of the team in a sense even though you’re not in the 12.”

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