JAKARTA – The biggest challenge for the Rain or Shine-backed Philippine team is not just to fast track Jordan Clarkson’s familiarity with the system being ran by head coach Yeng Guiao and the 11-man squad, which defeated Kazakhstan soundly on Thursday.
It’s making the most out of the 50-minute session allotted for our national team in bring up to speed the Cleveland Cavaliers guard.
“Our only problem is the regular practice is arranged by the organizers, nakaka-practice namin siya 50 minutes lang. Baka kailangan pang maghanap ulit ng extra gym for him to even gel with the team better,” Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines.
On Thursday night, the NBA player was able to pick up the plays despite the short time, something which impressed Guiao.
“He picked up the plays really fast. We did not have to prolong practice because everybody’s tired. We just came from the game and he came from a 17-hour flight. Then, pahinga siya sandali then pumunta ng practice. Pero high IQ talaga. He caught on the plays 35-40 minutes. On Friday, we will practice again and we will run the plays for him. We hope that by the China game, they become natural, automatic, our cohesiveness with him,” added Guiao.
Guiao attributed Clarkson’s attention to details as the biggest factor in picking up the plays fast and on Friday, the team will have another 50-minute session with the Fil-Am guard until such time he becomes more comfortable in running the team’s scheme of things.
“That’s a quality of a good player, a quality of a good person who’s been brought up really well. You know his upbringing is really good. Siguro we can take a little good credit of that kasi nga may dugo siyang Pilipino. That’s nice to know, that’s nice to hear. He’s very Filipino actually. Very accommodating, quiet. He appreciates the efforts of people around him to make him comfortable, relaxed. Maayos naman ito,” added Guiao.
The national quintet is hoping to have a twice-a-day session heading to its much awaited game against China, but another challenge that poses on the squad is the difficulty of finding a gym in this bustling city that is known as the “Energy of Asia” for its resources and providing cheap fuel and electricity for its local folks.
“Hindi ganun kadali humanap ng available gym dito, kasi hindi naman ito basketball country just like ours,” added Guiao. “But hopefully, we will be able to have twice-a-day sessions heading to our game against China.”
“I don’t want to get too excited just because we beat Kazakhstan by a big margin. Baka naman maging kumpiyansa. Of course, you cannot be overconfident against China. Kaya lang, we don’t want to be satisfied with that effort. Gusto namin pantayan or dikitan pa.”