Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine national basketball team, will be missing two key players, Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto, in their upcoming tune-up games leading to the FIBA World Cup. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement, stating that Clarkson is currently focused on his contract negotiations with the Utah Jazz, while Sotto has set his sights on playing in the NBA Summer League.
President Al Panlilio of the SBP expressed his gratitude for the support of the Filipino fans and emphasized the importance of their continued backing. The team management has already arranged friendly matches against Finland and Estonia on home soil, in addition to a contest against Latvia. They are also considering playing against Lithuanian professional clubs. Another pocket tournament in China is being planned, where the Philippines might face off against Iran, Lebanon, Senegal, and a team from South America.
Clarkson and Sotto are among the 21 players included in the World Cup pool unveiled by the SBP. The team also has two other options for the naturalized player spot: Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame. Notable players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) include Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Poy Erram, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, and Calvin Oftana. The roster also features Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Carl Tamayo, Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena, Jordan Heading, Rhenz Abando, and AJ Edu.
The absence of Clarkson and Sotto will be a blow to Gilas Pilipinas, as both players have been instrumental in the team’s recent success. Clarkson, an NBA player, has been a valuable contributor, showcasing his scoring ability and leadership on the court. Sotto, on the other hand, has emerged as a promising young talent and has drawn attention with his size and skills.
However, despite these setbacks, the team remains optimistic and determined to make a strong showing in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. The pool of talented players, combined with the coaching staff’s strategic plans, gives Gilas Pilipinas a fighting chance to compete against the world’s best basketball teams.
The tune-up games leading to the World Cup will serve as crucial preparation for the team, allowing them to fine-tune their strategies, build chemistry among the players, and identify areas that need improvement. The coaching staff will closely evaluate the performances of each player to finalize the roster for the tournament.
The Filipino basketball community eagerly awaits the return of Clarkson and Sotto to the national team in future competitions. Their absence in the upcoming tune-up games will undoubtedly be felt, but the team remains focused on their goal of representing the Philippines with pride and achieving success on the global stage.