The stars continue to come out to Wild Card Gym to take a peek at Sen. Manny Pacquiao as he prepares for his upcoming bout with Errol Spence Jr. On Saturday (Sunday, Manila time), Pacquiao had a star-studded group of Fil-Am guests headlined by Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson was joined by music artists Apl.de.Ap and J. Rey Soul — both of whom have Filipino lineage — of the Black Eyed Peas.
Filipino American ballers Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and 2021 NBA draft prospect Jalen Green will lead the first virtual Jr. NBA Philippines basketball clinics, the league announced on Monday. The free virtual basketball clinics for boys and girls aged 13 to 17 years old across the country will run on May 29 and June 12, with registration now live at http://www.jrnbaasia.com.
“I’ll say this: If he doesn’t win sixth man of the year, I’m not sure the N.B.A. is ready for the online reaction from this part of the world,” said Nikko Ramos, the editor in chief of the Philippines edition of Slam magazine.
Fans have spent 45 percent more time on the streaming service watching Jazz games this season than they did last season, according to the league. And on the N.B.A. Philippines Facebook page, Clarkson-related posts outperform all other content by an average of three to four times. A video of his highlight from a win over the Los Angeles Clippers in December has been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
“I remember telling him, ‘Hey, are you sure you want to do this?’” Ramos recalled. “And Jordan was like: ‘I play for the Lakers, and I live in L.A. I’m used to getting some attention. It’ll be fine.’” It was not fine. As the scene spiraled into something that resembled chaos, Ramos grabbed a towel to throw over Clarkson’s head — an ineffective disguise — and ushered him out of the building through a back door. “We couldn’t walk 10 steps,” Ramos said. “Everyone knew he was in the country.”
Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-3, 18-year-old basketball phenom who is on a path to becoming the first native-born son of the Philippines to play in the NBA, is opting out of the start of the NBA G League bubble in Orlando next month in order to meet contractual obligations with the Filipino National Team — the Gilas. Instead of entering the G League bubble on Jan. 26 with the G League Ignite team, Sotto will travel to the Philippines and play with the Gilas when they host Korea (Feb. 18 and Feb. 22) and Indonesia (Feb.20) at Clark City in Pampanga. “The G League agreed for me to meet my previous commitments to play for the national team,” Sotto said via direct message. “They have asked for me to immediately report back to the bubble after my last national team game.”