JAKARTA—In a bit of a role reversal, members of the Philippine women’s national volleyball team found themselves requesting for pictures with a fellow athlete at the Ritz Carlton here Sunday night.
Usually the ones entertaining requests for photographs, the Filipinas were the ones pulling out their cellphones when Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson walked into the hotel for a press conference, while the team was having dinner.
Virtually every member of the team had her photo taken with Clarkson, who the day before served as the Philippines’ flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Asian Games.
For the volleyball players, who opened their Asiad campaign on Sunday morning against Thailand, having Clarkson as part of Team Philippines was a source of inspiration.
“It's inspiring to see great athletes katulad ni Jordan kasi parang imagine superstar-level, NBA superstar, babalik at babalik sa kung saan ka nanggaling,” Alyssa Valdez told ABS-CBN News.
“It inspires everyone to give their best, kasi who knows 'di ba? Makakadating din kami sa ganoong stage ng career namin”
According to Valdez, it was clear Clarkson has “pusong Pinoy.”
Skipper Abigail Maraño was proud to see the US-based Clarkson wear Philippine colors with such pride.
“Sobra ang pagka-proud ko sa kaniya na binigyan niya ng pansin at pagbabalik-tanaw ang bansang Pilipinas, para makapag-laro,” Maraño said.
“So, sobrang nakakatuwa din, para sa aming mga atleta. Nakita namin na ito, lumaki sa ibang bansa, pero talagang ang laki ng puso na binibigay niya sa bansa.”
Clarkson is set to make his debut for the Philippines on Tuesday when the national basketball team plays China — at virtually the same time when the women’s volleyball team takes on Japan.
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