Clarkson & Robin

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A Basketball Nation

As the co-host for this year’s World Cup, the Philippines will look to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament in front of a nation of basketball fans, in a group featuring European powerhouses Serbia and Greece, both in the top 10 of FIBA most recent rankings.

Although the task seems daunting for Gilas Pilipinas (men's national team), there is reason for optimism.

After a disappointing performance in the last World Cup, finishing 32nd of 32 teams, and failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, the automatic birth as host alleviated pressure, and the Filipinos were able to play freely throughout Asian Qualifiers, finishing third in their group with a 10-6 record.

National Treasure

For fans of the NBA, and specifically the Utah Jazz, a familiar face is the key for Gilas Pilipinas in Jordan Clarkson, who throughout the qualifying rounds (2 games), averaged 25 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists, impacting every facet of the teams performance.

For the Jazz, he grabs 4 boards/game, standard for a shooting guard in the league, but on the national team, his increased rebounding helps jumpstart possessions for an offense that averaged just 80 points per game in qualifiers, and his playmaking/court vision provide the necessary creativity to score points.

The impact of Clarkson extends beyond the statistics, however.

He is a basketball superhero for the Philippines, his commitment to the World Cup makes national news, and his presence provides hope and motivation for his teammates.

Yet, for Gilas Pilipinas to have any chance of progressing in the tournament, Clarkson will need support.

Clarkson’s Robin

Enter, Kai Sotto.

During the November 2022 national team window, the team secured two critical road victories, extending their winning streak to three games, and Kai Sotto emerged as the key contributor, while Clarkson’s NBA season was underway.

He recorded 16 points, grabbed 7 boards against Jordan, and followed up with an all-round quality performance against Saudi Arabia, posting 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks to earn valuable points in qualifying.

While playing professionally in the Australian NBL for Adelaide, his numbers were less eye-opening, but his game is solid, and as a 7’3 21 year old, his potential is limitless.

During the Summer League in Las Vegas, his physical attributes and strong fundamentals were on display, despite limited minutes, and as Robin to Clarkson’s Batman, if he can continue producing, he gives the Filipinos a chance to win games in their group (without Jokic for Serbia, and potentially without Antetokounmpo for Greece), and to advance.

While playing professionally in the Australian NBL for Adelaide, his numbers were less eye-opening, but his game is solid, and as a 7’3 21 year old, his potential is limitless.

During the Summer League in Las Vegas, his physical attributes and strong fundamentals were on display, despite limited minutes, and as Robin to Clarkson’s Batman, if he can continue producing, he gives the Filipinos a chance to win games in their group (without Jokic for Serbia, and potentially without Antetokounmpo for Greece), and to advance.