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Saturday, July 13, 2024

PH win vs. Latvia excites Gilas mainstay Clarkson

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Gilas Pilipinas mainstay Jordan Clarkson had a powerful two-word reaction to the team’s stunning victory over world no. 6 Latvia: “Letsss goooo‼️‼” Clarkson posted on his official Twitter (X) account.

Although Clarkson wasn’t on the court, his excitement was evident as naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee led the Philippine team to an impressive 89-80 win over Latvia at the start of their Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Riga, Latvia.

Due to his demanding NBA schedule, the Utah Jazz guard could not commit to other Gilas tournaments, including the OQT.

Jordan Clarkson in action for the PH

Nonetheless, Clarkson, the son of a Filipina from Bacolor, Pampanga, couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for Gilas’ triumph over the world’s sixth-ranked team.

Clarkson played for Gilas in last year’s FIBA World Cup.

As of this writing, Gilas is set to face Georgia, needing only to avoid losing by 19 points to advance to the semifinals, bringing them one step closer to securing a slot in the Paris Olympics.

Given Georgia’s earlier loss to Latvia, a victory for Gilas seems within reach.

The Filipinos’ celebration at center court contrasted sharply with the shock and disbelief among Latvian fans, especially after Latvia’s dominant win over Georgia in their first game.

In his first FIBA game against a European team, Brownlee delivered a spectacular performance, nearly achieving a triple-double with 26 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists.

Kai Sotto had arguably his best game for Gilas, contributing 18 points and eight rebounds on 70% shooting from the field. June Mar Fajardo also shone, scoring 11 points on just six attempts.

Dwight Ramos and Chris Newsome nailed crucial free throws in the final seconds, combining for a total of 22 points.

The victory marked the first time the Philippines has defeated a European opponent in a FIBA-sanctioned game since 1960.

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