Gilas Pilipinas beat Saudi Arabia by 38 points in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Jordan Clarkson put on a show in front of a massive crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jordan Clarkson could not have stopped in his first home game with Gilas Pilipinas.
Gilas Pilipinas beat Saudi Arabia 84-46 in the OKBet FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Monday, August 29. Clarkson put on a show in front of a packed crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena and led Gilas Pilipinas to the win.
The NBA 6th Man of the Year from the Utah Jazz put up 23 points, six assists, and five rebounds as the Philippines overcame a slow start to even its record in the Asian Qualifiers at 3-3.
After the first quarter, the home team was behind 11-14. Clarkson and Dwight Ramos worked together in the second quarter to help Gilas Pilipinas take a double-digit lead. At halftime, Gilas Pilipinas had a 37-28 lead.
Nearly 20,000 people, including President Bongbong Marcos, went to the Arena. and Clarkson made sure they got what they paid for by putting on a show with many highlight reel plays, including a buzzer-beater from near half-court to end the first quarter.
Gilas 24-8 in the third quarter
Gilas Pilipinas beat the visitors 24-8 in the third quarter and never looked back on their way to a 38-point win. Clarkson’s play gave Gilas Pilipinas a big boost.
Kai Sotto led Clarkson with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks, and Ramos added nine scores and six rebounds. As the Philippines made up for their terrible 85-81 loss to Lebanon just three days ago.
Clarkson, who also got his first FIBA win, said, “I think I felt all the energy in the crowd. I think we all did, as a team.”
“Playing at home in front of your people is different, and also this Arena is gorgeous. I can’t remain to come back and play more games here.”
For the Filipinos, Japeth Aguilar and Kiefer Ravena each scored 8 points. Ray Parks and Calvin Oftana each scored 6 points in a lopsided win that gave head coach Chot Reyes some relief.
As much as the fans loved the Filipino players, they made it clear that they didn’t like Reyes by booing them whenever he was on the big screen.
When the Philippines were behind, the boos were louder. But Reyes made the changes needed in the second half when they beat Saudi Arabia 47–18.
“The crowd rather boo me than the players,” Reyes said. “Just cheer for the team.”
Khalid Abdel Gabar led the Saudis, who dropped to 1-5 and stayed in fifth place in Group E. He had 9 points, nine assists, and six boards.
No Saudi Arabia player scored more than 10 points, and the team only shot 23% from the field, even though they took more shots than the Philippines (68 to 66).