|Jordan Clarkson exploded for 29 points in his final Asian Games assignment in the Philippines' win over Syria. PSC Media Pool photo|
By Ricky Manliguis
JAKARTA-- The Philippines gave its main man Jordan Clarkson a fitting send-off as it clobbered Syria, 109-55, to settle for fifth place in the 18th Asian Games men’s basketball tournament at the Gelora Bung Karno Basketball Hall on Friday night.
All set to book a flight back to the US to attend the Cleveland Cavaliers training camp, Clarkson still came up with 26 of his 29 points in the first half as the Nationals waxed hot early on for its best finish in the Asiad since finishing fourth in Busan 2002.
The win also improved the country’s seventh-place finish four years ago in Incheon.
Gilas opened up with a 13-0 blast for a 38-16 first quarter lead, then continued the onslaught in the second behind Clarkson for a 60-34 halftime cushion.
Syria failed to recover from then on.
Clarkson added six assists and four rebounds before trooping to the bench for good midway into the third quarter to the delight of the crowd.
“It’s an honor representing my country in the Asian Games,” said Clarkson. “This is an unforgettable experience for me.”
Christian Standhardinger chipped in 27 points and 15 rebounds, Asi Taulava fired three triples for 11, while Pringle had 10 for the Philippines.
It was a roller-coaster campaign for the Rain Or Shine-backed squad in the quadrennial meet. After a rousing opening win over Kazakhstan, the team suffered back-to-back losses to powerhouse China and nemesis Korea in the quarterfinals. It then recovered in time to demolish Japan and Syria in the classification rounds.
The team will fly back to Manila on Monday to gear up for the fourth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Sept 13 and 17. But Guiao would be happy to bring Clarkson back to national team duties.
“We want him to return and play for us again as a member of our national team,” Guiao said, “But there are some things to be considered, like schedules and the NBA.”
Philippines 109 — Clarkson 29, Standhardinger 27, Taulava 11, Pringle 10, Yap 9, Belga 6, Tiu 5, Erram 5, Ahanmisi 3, Dalistan 2, Norwood 2, Almazan 0.
Syria 55 — Aljabi 23, Bakar 9, Saddir 6, Alhamwi 6, Al Ghamian 6, Kasaballi 2, Al Osh 2, Khouri 0, Idelbi 0
Quarters: 38-16; 60-34; 91-44; 109-55