JAKARTA, Indonesia – Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson gets ready to take the spotlight as Philippine flag-bearer during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Asian Games on Saturday night, August 18, at the sprawling Gelora Bung Karno Stadium here.
As he finds his groove with Gilas Pilipinas, Clarkson will also be trying out six new Barong Tagalogs for the opening parade of the continental sports showcase.
“Those were the only oversized ones left so we shipped them out as fast as we can,” Philippine team chef de mission Richard Gomez said of the national costume designed by noted couturier Randy Ortiz. “I hope one of those fits Jordan.”
Made out of silk, the Barong sports an embroidered “harimanok ”design and sun on both breasts and will be worn by the over 270-man national contingent.
The Cleveland Cavalier mainstay will be at the helm during the inaugural rites starting at 7 pm (8 pm in Manila) on Saturday at the 80,000-capacity stadium.
Gomez bared that he had endorsed Clarkson as flag-bearer to Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Pato Gregorio “because Clarkson is a good role model who has reached the pinnacle of being a Filipino basketball athlete by playing in the NBA."
"He will inspire our other athletes here to do well,” said Gomez, who arrived here on Friday night together with some Filipino athletes.
Gomez said bestowing the honor to a Fil-Am athlete also sends a message that “whether you are a Filipino born overseas or locally, we are just one big sports family.”
The Gilas squad won its first game against Kazakhstan minus Clarkson, who arrived from the US on the same day. (READ: Clarkson-less Gilas crushes Kazakhstan in Asian Games)
But the 6-foot-4 guard hopes to quickly fit in when he debuts on Tuesday, August 21, against China in Group D. And by then, he'll be proudly wearing a Philippine jersey that undoubtedly will fit him to a T. – Rappler.com