Clarkson vs Anderson: Duel of old foes  

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Clarkson vs Anderson: Duel of old foes   
Jordan Clarkson is shown here in action early in their game against South Sudan last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

MANILA, Philippines — Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and Kyle Anderson of the Minnesota Timbervolwes take centerstage in an expected fiery duel as Asian rivals Gilas Pilipinas and China figure in a crucial classification round encounter in the FIBA Basketball World Cup tomorrow.

Playing against each other since their collegiate days, the two bona fide NBA players take their act to the world stage this time with huge implications on their teams’ hopes for Paris Olympics entry.

“I’m very familiar with the China team. The team that I played is different. China’s a different team now and they’re going to have Kyle, another NBA guy,” said Clarkson ahead of the gigantic battle tomorrow at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Clarkson, before spearheading the Filipinos in their World Cup campaign at home, debuted in the international stage in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where he had crossed paths with China.

He put up 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals as Gilas absorbed a tough 82-80 defeat in the group stage of the Indonesia Asiad eventually won by China. Gilas finished fifth for its highest Asiad finish since a semifinal appearance in the 2002 Busan Games.

Clarkson, a Missouri standout and 46th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers before playing for Cleveland and now Utah, was in the same draft class with UCLA alum Anderson, who’s the 30th pick by San Antonio in 2014.

And now they meet again as Anderson, sporting a Chinese name of Li Kaier, stands in the way of Clarkson and the home team.

“I’ve been playing against him since college so it’s always fun to go against him. That’s one of my friends off the court so it’s always fun to compete,” he said.

It’s going to be an intense environment. They’re a very good team and they got some good players over there. They’ll have the crowd on their side so it’s going to be a tough, fun environment.”

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