MANILA, Philippines -- "Once Gilas, always Gilas."
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Tuesday commended Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson after he won the NBA's Sixth Man Award.
The 28-year-old Clarkson is the first Jazz player to win the honor, having edged teammate Joe Ingles and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose.
"In his short and sweet stint with Gilas Pilipinas, Jordan Clarkson showed us not only his world-class talent but also gave us a glimpse of the hard work and dedication necessary to get to that level," SBP president Al Panlilio said in a statement.
"Getting a front-row look at Jordan during Asian Games made us all believe that he will accomplish great things in the NBA," he added.
"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," Panlilio said, stressing that "once Gilas, always Gilas."
Clarkson, who traces his roots to Pampanga through his grandmother, played for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. He helped Gilas Pilipinas finish in fifth place, averaging 26.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
He has already said that he hopes to play for the Philippines again, possibly in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup that the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.
"Hopefully, everything lines up and I'm free that time and that moment and I'll put that Gilas jersey back on and go win us something," said Clarkson. "That's definitely something I want to do."
Clarkson still has to hurdle FIBA eligibility issues in order to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas as a local instead of a naturalized player.
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