By Jason Cruz
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this edition, we take a look at Jordan Clarkson’s summer, a new team for Jeremy Lin, and a young tennis star finds a partner.
Clarkson represents Team Philippines
NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson finally had the opportunity to play for the Philippines National Basketball team after much talk and planning. Clarkson’s 27 points and 7 assists fell short in the Asian Games qualifier for the Summer Olympics in 2024. Team Philippines fell to Lebanon 85-81 this past August.
In addition to Clarkson, Team Philippines had Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-center that had eyed the NBA, but currently plays in the National Basketball League in Australia. Yet, it was not enough to defeat Lebanon.
Despite the loss, Clarkson was happy to finally represent the birthplace of his grandmother.
“I know all y’all looking at the bigger picture but a lot of this is for my grandmother,” Clarkson said to reporters after their loss to the Lebanese team. “Just trying to carry her name, make her proud, and still continue to this day. That’s probably the biggest reason why I still do and represent the flag and country to this day.”
Clarkson, who played last season for the Utah Jazz, indicated that international play for the Filipino National Team would not be just a one and done situation. In fact, he’s talked to Jalen Green, a current member of the Houston Rockets, to play for the team at some point down the road.
“We are talking about just going out there, plotting things to do out there.” Clarkson added, “I don’t want to say too much but yeah, we just appreciate the love from the Philippines.”
Lin signs with new team
Jeremy Lin turned 34 in August and continues his professional basketball career in China. Lin played the last two seasons with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He announced that this fall he has signed with the Guangzhou Loong Lions.
“The journey continues! Still feel like a kid getting to live out my basketball dreams,” Lin wrote on his Instagram account. Lin attempted an NBA comeback during the 2020-2021 season and played for the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate in January 2021.
However, he did not get called up to the main roster.
Lin’s playing time with the Ducks declined in the 2021-2022 season, when he averaged 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists which was down from 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in the 2019-2020 season. He also saw less court time with the Ducks. After his contract ended in Beijing, there was speculation that he would play in Taiwan. Lin is still very popular in the birth country of his parents and every professional basketball team in Taiwan would be lucky to land Lin. But, with the announcement, Lin will continue to play in China.
Fernandez finds tennis partner through social media
Canadian Filipino tennis pro Leylah Fernandez is having a successful run in the mixed doubles tournament bracket of the U.S. Open. Fernandez and her partner, American Jack Sock, advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open mixed doubles bracket as of the time of this writing. The pairing of the 30-year-old Lincoln, Nebraska native and the 20-year-old Montreal, Quebec native may seem like an odd couple. In fact, it may be. Fernandez stated that her “dream mixed doubles partner” included Sock. It appears that he read that post because they paired up for the tournament.
After an impressive singles run in the U.S. Open last year where she made the final, she suffered an upset loss in the second round. However, Fernandez is still playing with Sock in the U.S. Open.
“Doubles is just so fun,” Fernandez told reporters during the week. “Even though there may be fans in the stands, because there’s more players on court, there’s always a few laughs here and there.”
Perhaps the tennis odd couple will make a longer run in the tournament. Sock is a veteran standing at 6-foot-3, while Fernandez just turned 20 years old and is 5-foot-6.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.