No Clarkson (yet), no problem

By Klyde Manansala | Photo by Tristan Tamayo

Even with Jordan Clarkson sitting out of his first assignment at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Philippines still came out like a well-oiled machine as they stunned Kazakhstan, 96-59, anchored by Stanley Pringle’s spectacular Gilas debut.

The national team tapped the services of Pringle for a reason, and the NorthPort Batang Pier guard, as expected, brought what’s typically in his bag as he dazzled for a team-high 18 points on top of four boards and two assists.

Gilas had taken full control of the whole game, with all 11 players who checked in managing to score, highlighted by a three-point play from the ageless Asi Taulava at the 4:04 mark of the final period to give the Philippines a comfortable 30-point lead, 84-54, before completely breaking away till the game buzzer sounded.

James Yap also had a vintage performance as he tallied 12 points, five rebounds, with a steal and a block. The veteran made his presence felt in the second quarter as he did most of the scoring with seven points, but it was Pringle who knocked down the cold-blooded three-pointer to help Gilas build a 41-20 lead entering the second half.

“The national team tapped the services of Pringle for a reason, and the NorthPort Batang Pier guard, as expected, brought what’s typically in his bag as he dazzled for a team-high 18 points on top of four boards and two assists

The Kazakhs are known for their excellent touch from beyond the arc, but Gilas took them to school after they connected on 12 three-pointers compared with the Kazakhs’ five of 28 attempts.

The Kazakhs’ shot percentage started to rise early in the third. They also started scoring from the inside as they hit several buckets underneath, but Beau Belga, Chris Tiu, and Yap did the job of trading baskets to keep their lead within 20, 49-29, before entering the final quarter.

Paul Lee struggled in the entire first half, but the sharpshooter started to pick up his pace at the payoff period where he hit three straight shots from beyond the arc to extend their lead to 81-52. The Kazakhs’ just couldn’t stop the bleeding as the lead continued to balloon.

“The Kazakhs are known for their excellent touch from beyond the arc, but Gilas took them to school after they connected on 12 three-pointers compared with the Kazakhs’ five of 28 attempts

Coach Yeng Guiao’s boys displayed astounding defense, which is their primary key to get into the quarterfinals.

Clarkson didn’t make it in time to suit for Gilas’ first game, but as soon as he landed in Indonesia, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard went straight to the venue to meet some of his teammates and watch most of the second half’s action. Clarkson will be donning the Philippine colors in Gilas’ next and final match in Group D, where they will go head-to-head against China on Aug. 21, Tuesday.