Aug 15, 2018

Team Pilipinas begins Asiad campaign against Kazakhstan, but Clarkson may not make it on time

The latest selection of PBA players sent to war in the Asian Games begins its campaign Thursday morning in Jakarta, Indonesia, going up against old rival Kazakhstan at the start of action in Group D play in men's basketball tournament at the GBK Basketball Hall.

It's a virtual knockout setto where coach Yeng Guiao banks on 11 PBA players with Fil-Am NBA player Jordan Clarkson set to arrive in the Indon capital only as the game is to start at 10 a.m.

Guiao will have at his disposal Rain or Shine players Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Beau Belga and Raymond Almanzan, San Miguel Beer's Christian Standhardinger, NLEX's Asi Taulava, North Port's Stanley Pringle, Blackwater's Poy Erram and Magnolia's Paul Lee.

The NBA approved at the last minute to clear Jordan for the Jakarta meet, but the Cleveland Cavaliers' guard won't make it in time for the Phl-Kazakhstan game.

"It's final. NBA gave one-time exception for this Asian Games for Jordan Clarkson and two players from China," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, also a PBA board member, representing the Meralco Bolts ball club.

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Due to flights and seat availability, Jordan will arrive in Jakarta via Singapore Thursday at 10 a.m.

But with or without Clarkson, Guiao said they would go all out against the Kazakhs.

Guiao is not coming in blind in their game against Kazakhstan, a tall, rugged team which made the semi-finals in three of the last four editions of the quadrennial meet.

"They're very rugged and physical. Dapat lang huag kang mapikon sa kanila. Ganon talaga ang style nila, malapit sa Australia," said Guiao.

A good number of Filipinos is expected to cheer for Team Phl, including PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and the PBA governors.

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The PBA delegation left for Jakarta Wednesday. The PBA officials will stay in Indonesia up to Sunday as they're also booked to watch and cheer the entire Phl delegation during the opening ceremonies at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium Saturday.(SB)