Philippines' 21-man player pool for World Cup has Clarkson and Brownlee
MANILA (Philippines) - In what is shaping up to be one of the hardest team selections in the country's history for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, coach Chot Reyes will choose from 21 players.
The governing body of basketball in the Philippines (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc) has announced the preliminary squad that includes Jordan Clarkson, Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame, three juggernauts that will vie for the one naturalized spot on the roster.
There are also burgeoning star Kai Sotto and fellow big June Mar Fajardo, brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravenna and sweeting shooting Bobby Ray Parks, Jr, amongst others.
The 21-man Gilas Pool for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/YAZObOe1Cq— SBP (@officialSBPinc) June 6, 2023
Most have participated in the Asian Qualifiers for the World Cup.
Clarkson may be the favorite for the naturalized spot after a couple of breathtaking displays in the qualifiers, and because of his NBA experience. He is currently with the Utah Jazz.
Brownlee is enticing, too, albeit a different type of player. A gifted scorer like the 1.98m Clarkson, the 2.0m Brownlee is a little taller, and physically bigger. Either would be an enormous asset for Reyes, just as the 2.08m Kouame would be, a player that shone when the Philippines impressed at the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
Clarkson averaged 25.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds in his two appearances while Brownlee had 17 points in a game against Lebanon and 41 points and 12 rebounds in a clash with Jordan.
Sotto, who spent this season playing in the Japanese B League, has been in the United States taking part in a Utah Jazz mini-camp, according to spin.ph.
Another name in player pool that will have raised eyebrows is AJ Edu, who did not play in the Asian Qualifiers but has represented the youth national teams and currently competes in college basketball in the United States for Toledo.
The Philippines are gearing up for their third consecutive World Cup. In the First Round, t\hey will compete in Group A, in Manila, against Angola, Dominican Republic and Italy.