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Hastily-formed PH 5 battles Kazakhstan in vital tiff




The Philippines will have to fight Kazakhstan today without celebrated Fil-American Jordan Clarkson who will arrive an hour before the do-or-die match at the Gelora Bung Karno Basketball Hall in Jakarta, Indonesia.
National coach Yeng Guiao has discounted the possibility of fielding Clarkson in their 11 a.m. game they badly need to win to make it into the knockout phase.
The Filipinos are bracketed with the Kazakhs and powerhouse China in Group D. The top two teams advance into the next round.
Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers took the next available flight from Los Angeles to the Indonesian capital as soon as the National Basketball Association (NBA) cleared his participation in the quadrennial event.
Guiao said it’s unfair for Clarkson to play right away after a long flight from Los Angeles.
Even without Clarkson on the floor, Guiao remains confident against the dangerous Kazakhs.
“We feel we have a pretty good game plan against Kazakhstan. We feel we are ready,” said Guiao after another practice session at the Gor Lokasari gym yesterday.
“The coaching staff has done an excellent job scouting, doing the preparation and doing the mind-setting of the players. And everybody is just making a contribution to the effort,” added Guiao.
Despite the little preparations and the controversies that surrounded the team’s participation, Guiao said the players have already a good grasp of his system.
“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Guiao. “Our team is jelling, the camaraderie is really good and they’re absorbing the system really well. That’s the good news.”
Most of the Kazakhs players that saw action in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers will see action. Among them are Rustam Yergali, Rustam Murzagaliyev, Nikolai Bazhin, Alexandr Zhigulin and Anton Vikov.
After Kazakhstan, the Filipinos will face the Chinese on Tuesday, Aug. 21, giving Clarkson four days to acquaint himself with Guiao’s system.
The team is made up of Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood, Chris Tiu, James Yap, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga and Maverick Ahanmisi, Magnolia’s Paul Lee, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, San Miguel Beer’s Christian Standhardinger, NLEX’s Asi Taulava and Blackwater’s Poy Erram.
Meantime, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the NBA jointly issued the following statement regarding the participation of Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson in the 2018 Asian Games.
They said: “After continued communication between the SBP and the NBA over the past few days, we were able to come together to pave the way for Jordan Clarkson to represent the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games. The SBP and the NBA have a longstanding relationship of working together to grow the game of basketball in the Philippines, and we share in the excitement of fans across the country and wish Gilas Pilipinas the very best in Indonesia.”

Jordan Clarkson (MB file photo)

Jordan Clarkson (MB file photo)