Gilas Pilipinas still hasn’t heard from Kai Sotto, but Jordan Clarkson is going to the FIBA World Cup

Gilas Pilipinas still hasn't heard from Kai Sotto, but Jordan Clarkson is going to the FIBA World Cup

Gilas Pilipinas got a big boost on Tuesday when coach Chot Reyes said that Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson will play for the team in next month’s FIBA World Cup. However, the situation of center Kai Sotto still needs to be clarified.

Reyes says that Clarkson will come to the Philippines on August 6 after he finally reaches an agreement with the Gilas team management.

“It’s huge,” Reyes told ESPN after team practice on Tuesday in an exclusive interview.

“Jordan was our guy from the start. After long talks with “Team Clarkson,” they finally signed this morning and plan to be here with us on August 6.

“At least now we know for sure when it will happen.”

Jordan Clarkson won’t be able to play in the Gilas pocket tournament in China from August 2 to 6 because he will be in the country later. He will be fully ready after that, though.

Chot Reyes stated, “He (Clarkson) has some professional and personal problems that he better handles than us.” “But Team Clarkson and Jordan himself have been in touch with us the whole time. We’ve been talking about the technical side of basketball.

“Unfortunately, he can’t come with us to China, but we’ve set up a couple of practice games with Jordan here in Manila. So that will make up for what he will miss in China.”

Chot Reyes said that now that Clarkson is on the team, Justin Brownlee, who has been training with the team every day, can get surgery for bone spurs but will still be with the team for the Asian Games in late September.

“We have to praise Justin, who has put a lot of effort into practice and getting the team ready even though he knew he was Jordan’s backup,” he said.

“So now that we know for sure that Jordan Clarkson will join us, it’s a big relief for us.”

Sotto showed up to practice on Tuesday but didn’t do any of the tasks. He left the practice site without talking to reporters. Chot Reyes said that the fact that Kai Sotto was there was a good sign, but he wouldn’t say when the 7-foot-3 center could finally start training with the team.

“I think him being here shows that he’s committed to the team,” Reyes said.

“I guess he’s the best person to ask about when he can fully take part in practice.”

Kai Sotto hurt his back in the NBA Summer League, which has held him out. Reyes said that team doctors gave him the all-clear, but Sotto’s camp said that an MRI showed something.

“When our doctors checked on him, it seemed like he was fine from a practical point of view,” Reyes said. “But they said that they did an MRI, and it looks like he needs a few more days off. So right now, we’re trying to figure out what to do with our medical staff.”

A reliable source who spoke to ESPN on the condition of secrecy said that Sotto’s camp still needs to sign his contract to play in the FIBA World Cup and that Gilas officials are getting more worried about his status for the tournament.

The source also said that Kai Sotto’s appearance at the AsiaBasket basketball event in Las Piñas on Monday night, where he was interviewed live, was “not a good look.”

Chot Reyes said that the team is ready for anything to happen with Sotto. He added, “In the meantime, we’re just continuing to prepare and move forward.”

“If it happens, it happens. But for now, we’re getting ready with the guys we have.”

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