The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed an earlier statement by Gilas head coach and program director Chot Reyes that Jordan Clarkson will be reinforcing the Philippine national basketball team for the 4th window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers set this coming August and eventually the FIBA World Cup next year.
“Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is sure to play in the World Cup and will likely join Gilas in the fourth window. But won’t be available for the two other windows and the SEA Games,” said the SBP through a statement released Friday.
There are reports that Clarkson has set aside 10 days for the Asian qualifiers and 6 weeks for the World Cup.
“We’re excited to bring back Jordan,” said SBP boss and concurrent PLDT/Smart president and CEO Al Panlilio.
“We’re also hoping to enlist Kai Sotto, our Smart brand ambassador, for the fourth window to join Jordan. It will be a boost for Filipino fans as the game against Saudi on Aug. 29 will be at MOA Arena, two days after we begin the one-year countdown for the World Cup.”
Panlilio also called on all Philippine basketball shareholders to join hands in forming the best possible team for the World Cup.
“As FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis mentioned, it’s been nearly 25 years since Greece hosted a world basketball event,” said Panlilio. “We really have to give it full support from all basketball stakeholders.”
“The time for leagues to sacrifice and adjust schedules with Gilas in mind is now as the World Cup is only a year away,” he added.
SBP vice president Ricky Vargas, for his part, reiterated the call for a united stand among all the leagues in the country in preparation for the biggest tournament in basketball.
“The World Cup will never happen again in Manila in our lifetime. It took 45 years to bring the World Cup back to Manila. We should be all out. We need the best to play and be allowed to play. We call on all stakeholders to unite for flag and country,” stressed Ricky Vargas.