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'ONCE GILAS, ALWAYS GILAS' | SBP chief Panlilio lauds Clarkson for winning NBA 6th Man

Jordan Clarkson was stellar during his Gilas debut in the 2018 Asian Games. PSC Media Pool (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio somehow expected Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson will deliver a masterful performance this past NBA regular season.

After all, he has already seen him play in flesh.

"In his short and sweet stint with Gilas Pilipinas, Jordan Clarkson showed us not only his world-class talent but also gave us a glimpse of the hard work and dedication necessary to get to that level. Getting a front-row look at Jordan during Asian Games made us all believers that he will accomplish great things in the NBA," Panlilio said on Tuesday, moments after the league announced Clarkson as the Sixth Man of the Year.

Clarkson played for Gilas during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, putting everyone on notice especially after the team nearly beat eventual champion China in the classification phase.

Three years later, Clarkson helped Utah soar to the best record in the NBA this season, all while playing mainly backup to Donovan Mitchell.

With that, Clarkson has been named this year's "super sub".

"Congratulations on winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, Jordan. The SBP and the entire Philippine basketball community is proud of you," Panlilio further said.

The SBP has remained hopeful that Clarkson would be classified as a local by FIBA especially with the 2023 FIBA World Cup that the Philippines will be hosting alongside Indonesia and Japan.

But no matter what happens to his eligibility, Panlilio said that Clarkson will forever be etched in Gilas' history.

"Once Gilas, always Gilas," Panlilio concluded.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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