MANILA, Philippines — From the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to PBA stars, national team mainstays and fans, the Filipino nation joined Filipino-American pride Jordan Clarkson in celebration after the Utah Jazz guard was crowned the 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Truly, it’s a magnificent season for Clarkson.
The SBP said there has never been doubt in Clarkson’s “world-class talent, hardwork and dedication” to shine in the NBA after showing a glimpse of it in his maiden campaign with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
“Getting a front-row look at Jordan during the Asian Games made us all believers that he will accomplish great things in the NBA,” said SBP president Al Panlilio as Clarkson then led Gilas to fifth place, the country’s highest finish in 16 years.
“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. Once a Gilas, always a Gilas,” he added.
Clarkson’s Asiad teammates and PBA stars in Magnolia’s Paul Lee, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and James Yap also paid tribute to their “brother” for his historic accomplishment as the first Jazz player to win the coveted plum.
Returning TNT mentor Chot Reyes, also a former Gilas coach, and long-time national team captain Jimmy Alapag also tipped their hats off to the Fil-Am NBA ace.
The SBP is hoping to have Clarkson on board anew in the near future especially in the 2023 FIBA World Cup it is hosting. The local federation is in continuous dialogue with FIBA regarding eligibility rules for Fil-foreign players like him to play as locals.