OF course, Jordan Clarkson was every bit as good as we had hoped. In his very first game with Gilas Pilipinas, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard showed why the NBA players are cut of different stuff.
His output of 28 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals went for naught as we lost to China 82-80 but that was clearly a harbinger of better things to come for our national team, especially considering that we were able to scrape up this line-up in only a matter of weeks.
JORDAN. His mother hails from Angeles City and played college ball in Oklahoma and Missouri. In the 2014 NBA draft he was the 46th overall pick by the Washington Wizards before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
He made the NBA All- Rookie first team and was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season where he briefly got the chance to play alongside Lebron James, all the way to the NBA Finals.
ASIAN GAMES. While indeed, Clarkson’s overall prowess is a huge boost for our campaign, basketball being a team game, he will have to find a way to involve his teammates more, especially as we will be facing the reigning Asian Games champion in Korea on Monday.
Size-wise, we match up well with Korea, but their strengths lie in ball movement and shooting- something that will be difficult to control defensively for a hastily assembled team and which now has to integrate one supremely talented player, still largely unfamiliar with his teammates.
Remember that we have not won a medal in basketball in the Asian Games in 20 years, the last one being a bronze back in 1998.
We have to put behind the China loss, stop gawking over what Jordan Clarkson can do, and focus on this must win game against Korea.
We must get to the Promised Land first, before we start anointing anybody as the Messiah.
BOXING. Speaking of China, she broke our hearts again this time in boxing as Nesthy Petecio--one of our best bets for a podium finish, lost to Chinese Yin Junhua, 3-2 in their featherweight matchup. That left us with only six fighters in the hunt for that gold medal.
The verdict was deemed controversial by most as Petecio outfought and outsmarted Yin for most of the fight.
Well, that’s amateur boxing for you. That’s why it seldom merits space in this column. For me, the best hope we have left is flyweight Rogen Landon who sees action today.
LAST ROUND. It’s on one of my dear friends, Dr. Gerry Ypil, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers Dungeon Master!
August 25, 2018
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