Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
Yeng Guiao had said before the 18th Asian Games that he intends to play Jordan Clarkson like an import.
He did that, and after 28 Clarkson points that topped a brilliant all-around effort, the Philippines almost turned the tables on gold medal favorite China.
Now, Guiao has another thing that Clarkson wants to do if the Filipinos are to survive South Korea on Monday morning and make the Final Four of the basketball competition.
“I know Jordan can score at will at anytime if he wants to,” Guiao said after practice. “But that’s a really hard way [for us] to win a game. He must involve his teammates. He must get some help from the others.”
The Cleveland Cavalier in the NBA shouldered most of the fight in the third quarter last Tuesday, shooting 16 of his total in the third period as the Filipinos rallied from 12 points down in the second frame and earned the shot at winning it in the end.
But that effort had Clarkson cramping up in the fourth, where he became a virtual non-entity. But the good thing about that was he saw that he has able teammates, who worked their butts off while he was riding the bench and gave the Philippines their first taste of the lead since the first period.
“We have already incorporated that in the [Korea] game plan,” Guiao said of the preparations that the team is doing in order to get back at the country that has dealt the Philippines some of its bitterest losses in the sport.
“How he can force the defense to double team him and pay special attention to him will free up the rest of the team,” Guiao said. “When he has the opportunity to score, alam na niya yun.”
Winning over Korea will line the Philippines up for a possible clash with Iran and then another shot at the Chinese, who barely survived this hastily assembled squad and won by just two points.
In all of his PBA teams, Guiao has never been known to rely on just one man.
Here, he preaches the same principle. It’s now up to the others to do their part, because judging from the way Clarkson played against China, that double team, that special attention on defense that Guiao was talking about, will surely come Clarkson’s way.