Jordan Clarkson triumphs with Gilas Pilipinas in debut game on Philippine soil

Jordan Clarkson Gilas Pilipinas
NBA star Jordan Clarkson is welcomed home to his Filipina mother’s homeland by a full-capacity crowd at SM MOA Arena. Photo from FIBA.

Jordan Clarkson led the Gilas Pilipinas squad towards victory at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in the NBA star’s debut game on Philippine soil.

The Filipino American star athlete of the National Basketball Association (NBA) played in front of his Filipina mother’s homeland for the first time on Monday night, August 29, 2022, and led the Philippine National Team to an 84-46 routing of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Clarkson played to a full-capacity crowd of over 19 thousand fans at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Manila, and finished on the leaderboard with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.

The NBA Sixth Man of the Year awardee kept the Gilas team going through its sluggish start in the game, delivering 9 of the squad’s 11 points in the first quarter.

Gilas Pilipinas eventually recovered and dominated the next three quarters with outstanding performances from Clarkson, Kai Sotto who delivered 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and Dwight Ramos who came up with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.

The massive homecourt crowd rewarded the Philippine squad’s efforts with booming cheers and thunderous claps for dunks, baskets, assists, and rebound plays.

Fans of the basketball-loving nation were especially tickled at seeing Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz play basketball with Kai Sotto who is campaigning to be the first homegrown Filipino player in the NBA.

Clarkson first donned his Gilas Pilipinas jersey No. 6 during the Asian Games in 2018.

In his post-game interview on the court, Clarkson asked for continued support for the Gilas Pilipinas team, saying, “We’re getting something started here.” Clarkson is expected to play for the Philippine team in the FIBA World Cup 2023.

The Philippines, one of the tournament’s host nations, improved to a 3-3 record in the qualifiers and has already qualified for the games as the 3rd nation after New Zealand and Lebanon with secured spots in Group E.

The Philippines’ victory was also welcomed by the teams of New Zealand and Lebanon whose World Cup berths were clinched through the Asian Qualifiers after the Gilas win against Saudi Arabia.

Here are the final scores of the Philippines-Saudi Arabia game:

PHILIPPINES, 84: Clarkson 23, Sotto 16, Ramos 9, Aguilar 8, K. Ravena 8, Parks 6, Oftana 6, T. Ravena 4, Thompson 2, Malonzo 2, Newsome 0, Adams 0.

SAUDI ARABIA, 46: Abdel Gabar 9, Kadi 9, Ma. Almarwani 9, Mo. Almarwani 8, Almuwallad 4, Belal 3, Mohammed 2, Abo Jalas 2, Alsager 0, Albargawi 0.

Quarters: 14-11, 37-28, 61-36, 84-46

READ MORE Reasons to Watch Gilas Pilipinas Games.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Jordan Clarkson and Gilas Pilipinas for giving the Philippines a massive win in the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers!

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