Gilas Pilipinas finally had their first full scrimmage with Jordan Clarkson, and head coach Yeng Guiao is convinced the Cleveland Cavaliers player is a class above the rest in the 18th Asian Games.
Even against China? Guiao believes yes.
“I think he’s a class of his own in this Asian Games,” said Guiao, his eyes radiating with confidence. “Wala pa akong nakita. I’ve watched Korea, China, Japan, Iran.
“I don’t think skill[s]-wise may tatapat sa kanya.”
Having played with two of the greatest players on earth – Kobe Bryant with the LA Lakers and LeBron James with the Cavaliers – Clarkson can bring a lot on the table.
And that makes Gilas a lot quicker, deadlier, and more stable in the backcourt.
“Nadagdagan ang quickness natin sa pagdating si Clarkson,” Guiao added. “Jordan’s mentality is he can control the game just by his decision-making not to mention his skills and physical abilities.
“If you give him the ball and make him create, it’s either he will find the open guy or he will score. A lot of PBA [Philippine Basketball Association] imports don’t get to that level.
“Mayroon silang physical skills, mayroon silang size and mayroon silang abilities, pero at a young age, it’s really the mental aspect of the game (that sets him apart). How he reads the game, how he makes decision, how he chooses his options, I think that’s the difference,” he added.
Clarkson’s mettle will be tested in Tuesday’s game against the mighty Chinese squad.
About the team’s chances, Guiao said his boys will use their quickness to the fullest to make up for their height disadvantage.
“Kung mabilis tayong mga Pinoy, sobrang bilis nito. He’s incredibly quick, fast and he’s got quick reflexes. On a match up situation, hindi ko alam sino itatapat ng China sa kanya.”