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Asian Games 2018

Asian Games: Gilas Pilipinas’ Jordan Clarkson free of ‘Korean curse’ ahead of quarter-final clash

The Philippines have a woeful record against South Korea over the past decade and several players, as well as the coach, are carrying baggage

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 August, 2018, 11:17am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 August, 2018, 1:59pm

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Jordan Clarkson is free of at least one burden several of his Gilas Philippines teammates have been carrying around for many years – their poor record against South Korea.

And that may work in the team’s favour with Clarkson expected to play a key role in their Asian Games quarter-final against defending champions and unbeaten Korea on Monday at the Jakarta Convention Centre.

Gilas Pilipinas’ Jordan Clarkson faces ‘fight’ from ex-Missouri teammate and South Korea star Ricardo Ratliffe

However, coach Yeng Guiao – who also suffered the “Korean curse” during his playing career – said the man who scored 28 points in their narrow defeat by China last week needs help.

“I am also a victim of Korea,” Philippine media quoted Guiao as saying, referring to a seventh-place play-offs at the 2009 Fiba Asian Championship in Tianjin, China that South Korea won 82-80. “We lost on the last shot.

“We’ve been beaten many times by Korea. They are our arch nemesis. We know their style, we know their options on offence. It’s up to us to find a way to counter that. So far, I have some ideas. The coaching staff has been contributing ideas.

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That 2009 team also featured current players Gabe Norwood, Asi Taulava and James Yap. Since then, the Philippines and South Korea have met 10 times with the latter winning nine. The Philippines’ sole victory was in 2013 and Guioa admitted that players involved in those matches are carrying some baggage.

Not so Clarkson, who made his debut for the Gilas against China last week and impressed the coach and fellow players with his NBA quality.

However Guiao said he wanted Clarkson to receive more help form his teammates. Against China, he tried to do too much himself – trying to shoot when a teammate could have been available for a pass.

As a result, Clarkson was physically spent towards the end of the game and cramped up in both legs with minutes left.

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“He must involve his teammates. He must get more support from the others,” Guiao told ESPN. “We had already incorporated that to the game plan – how he can force the defence to double team him and pay special attention to him to free up the rest of the team.

“If he has the opportunity to score … he knows and he will understand to read the situation.”

The Gilas will have had six days to prepare for the South Korea match, giving Clarkson more time to adapt to his new surroundings.

“With enough time, he’s able to understand each and every player and the players are also able to understand him,” added the coach. “We’re expecting that he plays even better than the China game.

“More efficient. I’m not saying he’s going to score more than 28 points. I think the most important thing is he’s going to be more efficient – increase his percentages, create situations for his teammates, which means probably more assists.”

South Korea have won all three of their group matches in pool A and boast US-born Ricardo Ratliffe, a former teammate of Clarkson’s from their University of Missouri days.