By REYNALD MAGALLON
Jordan Clarkson is not losing motivation and confidence that Gilas Pilipinas can finally get over the hump heading into the equally crucial two games in the classification round.
The Utah Jazz star stressed the motivation remains the same even after bowing out of contention following a 0-3 finish in the first round – the first time for the host country since Colombia in 1982 to lose all of its first three games.
“We’re super motivated. I think from the beginning we were motivated. Our team is strong, we fight and never give up throughout the whole game,” said Clarkson after Italy slammed the door on Gilas’ second round hopes with a 90-83 win.
As much as the frustration towards Gilas losing skid in the world stage beginning the 2019 edition where it lost all of its five games, Clarkson and the rest of the crew found consolation in keeping in step with high-caliber World Cup teams.
Clarkson said Gilas remained competitive and was even able to put itself in the position to win against Dominican Republic and Angola and it’s only a matter of time for Gilas to finally get over the hump.
“Tough game, but I think we competed. I think we’ve competed in all three games. We came out here and gave our best efforts. We’re trying to figure out these games and get wins, ” said Clarkson, who had another stellar all-around effort of 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
“Basketball is a game of missed shots and up and downs and we string together runs and we go out there competing til the end of the horn,” he added.
Just like Gilas’ legion of overly passionate fans, Clarkson hopes to finally get it in their last two games of the tournaments where the Nationals continue to gun for the coveted 2024 Paris Olympics slot.
“We haven’t really felt like we’ve been out of any games. We fight. We’re strong and we can put it together and try to get these two (games). We know what it means and we know what it means for the country. We are living it all out on the floor,” vowed the Gilas main man.