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Gilas system changes with Clarkson, Sotto 

Sotto

WITH Jordan Clarkson bringing his Sixth Man act and Kai Sotto making himself available for this month’s International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Qualifiers, expect a men’s national basketball team displaying a different chemistry.

“It’s something new, but we’ll have to wait and see how they play together,” Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Jong Uichico told BusinessMirror on Wednesday. “Hopefully it will prosper and bring positive things during games.”

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed in a statement on Wednesday Sotto’s inclusion in the national team to the two qualifiers—an away game on August 25 in Beirut and a home match against Saudi Arabia on August 29.

“We are glad to have Kai into the Gilas fold and thank him for his proactive response to the call to play for flag and country for the August qualifiers,” SBP executive director and spokesperson Renauld “Sonny” Barrios said in the statement.

Sotto will fly home from Australia—where he signed a fresh contract with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League—next Thursday.

Clarkson, named the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Sixth Man of the 2020-2021 season with the Utah Jazz, is expected to arrive on Monday

He donned the Gilas jersey in the Jakarta 2018 Asian Games where he displayed his NBA class act despite the Philippines finishing in fifth place on three wins and two losses.

Uichico said the 6-foot-4 Clarkson will be at his comfort zone as guard and small forward while the 7-foot-2 Sotto will be at center.

Uichico, however, said that Clarkson could play multiple roles in the team.

“Our previous naturalized players [Marcus Douthit and Andre Blatche] were not totally inside players,” Uichico said. “They were perimeter players and can drive to the basket so there’s no big adjustments on our part.”

Also named to the pool coached by Chot Reyes are Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Carl Tamayo, Kevin Quiambao, Francis Lopez and Bobby Ray Parks Jr.

The SBP earlier said that players from the Philippine Basketball Association will be known only after the Philippine Cup semifinals are over.

The Saudi Arabia game will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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