Pinoy pride in full display

Kai Sotto and Jordan Clarkson boost Philippine basketball ahead of its hosting of the FIBA World Cup. Photo courtesy of FIBA
Kai Sotto and Jordan Clarkson boost Philippine basketball ahead of its hosting of the FIBA World Cup. Photo courtesy of FIBA

Jordan Clarkson, Kai Sotto, and the best of the best from the Philippine Basketball Association and the Japan B. League.

These Filipino players culled from different parts of the world had heeded the call when it comes to serving Gilas Pilipinas in major international competitions, including the country's hosting of the FIBA World Cup next year.

Clarkson is set to represent the country for the second time in major international competitions.

Pinoy basketball fans were able to catch a glimpse of carrying the Philippine colors during the 18th Asian Games in 2018 when he played for the Yeng Guiao-mentored squad.

Filipinos witnessed up close and personal Clarkson at work when Gilas Pilipinas played during the fourth window at the Mall of Asia Arena and teamed up with Sotto, the 7-foot-3 second generation cager.

It was such a surreal feeling for the basketball-crazy nation seeing a legitimate National Basketball Association player and a young center who has a promising and bear torch of Philippine basketball overseas.

Clarkson is the cake, but Justin Brownlee serves as the icing as the beloved Barangay Ginebra Sa Miguel import is now gearing up to represent the country in major international competitions.

Never mind if he serves as backup to Clarkson. Brownlee is now close to fulfilling to become a Filipino and this early, he has called himself as "Justin Noypi."

Come the sixth and final window of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Pinoy fans might be able to see Brownlee finally playing for Gilas.

The Philippines' hosting of the World Cup gives us all the reasons to feel excited and completely erase the stigma of the county's debacle in the men's basketball event of the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

For the first time since 1989, the Philippine men's basketball team failed to win the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games as Pinoy fans clamored for a coaching change.

But at a time when the Philippines was preparing for the World Cup hosting, making drastic changes wasn't ideal after all.

Instead, officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas exerted more efforts in the preparation of the biggest basketball event that is coming home for the first time since 1978.

This is the first time that the World Cup will be hosted by three countries — Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines — with most of the games to be held in Manila.

Basketball is indeed coming home and nobody deserves it than the most passionate fans in the world — the Filipinos.

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