Jordan Clarkson ready to “feel the love” once more from Filipino fans (FIBA photo courtesy)

MANILA — Amid speculation surrounding the absence of Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson in Gilas Pilipinas’ final pre-FIBA World Cup warm-up match against Mexico, team manager Butch Antonio and head coach Chot Reyes have affirmed that Clarkson’s non-participation was not due to injury.

“He was simply in need of some rest,” Antonio assured in regard to Clarkson’s status.

Despite Clarkson’s absence, Gilas faced a defeat against Mexico, with a final score of 84-77. Scottie Thompson emerged as the top scorer for the team with 14 points, complemented by Dwight Ramos and Roger Pogoy, each contributing nine points. The game saw Mexico gaining momentum in the third quarter, capitalizing on seven turnovers by Gilas.

In light of concerns, Antonio dispelled any worries regarding the health of the Fil-Am guard or the potential jeopardy of his involvement in the upcoming World Cup.

“There’s no need for concern,” he emphasized. “He genuinely required some time to recuperate.”

Clarkson had arrived in Manila on August 8 and has been actively training with Gilas Pilipinas since then. In his debut tune-up match with the team, he played for 24 minutes and 15 seconds during an 85-62 victory over Ivory Coast on the previous Friday. Subsequently, he logged 29 minutes and 39 seconds of playtime in the team’s 102-87 loss to Montenegro on Sunday night.

“Rest was simply what he needed,” Reyes reiterated.

Clarkson is set to lead the Philippines’ charge in the FIBA World Cup, commencing on August 25 at the Philippine Arena, where their first match will be against the Dominican Republic. (ai/mnm)