GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes stressed that getting Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson and young big man Kai Sotto into the national pool to train in the soonest possible time is imperative so as “not to disrupt team chemistry.”
Reyes explained that team chemistry is something they tried to start building the past week when members of the Gilas pool were on closed-door training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
“That’s a test of our teamwork, because if we have 10 guys who are tight, they should be able to influence the two guys coming in and make it easier for the assimilation of the two,” Reyes told sports analyst Quinito Henson in his recent guest appearance at the YouTube Sports Channel Playitright TV.
Clarkson is currently in the middle of a major NBA career decision following the Jazz’s disappointing performance this past season.
The 31-year-old Clarkson, the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, is coming off another solid season that saw him average 20.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 61 regular season games.
While he still has a year to go in his contract with the Jazz, the Filipino American guard can also exercise an option to negotiate for a new deal or test free agency altogether.
As for the 7-foot-2 Sotto, the former Gilas Youth star center is on the waiting end in his bid to play in the NBA Summer League after concluding his mini-camps with the Dallas Mavericks, the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks.
The two coveted members for Gilas played together in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, which saw Gilas register a 1-1 record in the fourth window.
The sweet-shooting Clarkson showed his worth for Gilas in that window as he averaged 25 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. The Philippines dropped a narrow 81-85 decision to the Wael Arakji-led Lebanon in Beirut before returning with a vengeance days after in dumping Saudi Arabia in Manila, 84-46, in August 2023.
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