Lebanon spoils Jordan Clarkson’s Gilas debut

·1 min read

Not even the presence of NBA star Jordan Clarkson could stop the Gilas Pilipinas’ current losing skid as they fell to Lebanon, 85-81, in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers at Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Zouk Mikael on early Friday morning.

Clarkson, an NBA Sixth Man of the Year award-winner who plays for the Utah Jazz, had 27 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, but it all went for naught behind the endgame onslaught of Lebanon’s star guard Wael Arakji, who scored the Cedars’ last seven points highlighted by a dagger triple that gave them an 83-78 lead with just 16 seconds to go.

Arakji finished with 24 points, going 10-of-11 from the line, including two that put Lebanon ahead for good with 57.3 ticks left and a couple more with 5.3 seconds to go that sealed the win.

Dwight Ramos had a fantastic outing for the Gilas with 18 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, and two assists, while Japeth Aguilar had 11 markers and six boards. Kai Sotto added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Philippine team.

Gilas dropped to 2-3 in Group E and will look to get a win against Saudi Arabia on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.