Jordan Clarkson

TAIPEI – Fil-Am NBA player Jordan Clarkson has ended his Jones Cup journey with Team Phl, heading back to the US with so much goodwill forged with the SBP leaders and the Gilas Pilipinas players.

In being with the Gilas pool for a week, Clarkson built a good bonding with the Nationals and provided them inspiration with his mere presence behind the Gilas bench.

Clarkson had joined two Gilas practices in Manila and was on hand here to cheer the team in games against Chinese Taipei, South Korea and Spartak-Primorye of Russia.

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 Argentina's Luis Scola, right, drives past Canada's Kelly Olynyk during FIBA Americas play Tuesday in Mexico City.  HENRY ROMERO / REUTERS

MEXICO CITY—It’s all well and good to have depth and abundant talent but when basketball games get close down the line, the need is dire for someone to step up and take control.

And for all the good things about the Canadian senior men’s team — and there is no reason for anyone to panic at this point — that lack of a take-charge leader helped bury them against Argentina here Tuesday in Canada’s first game at the FIBA Americas championship.

Despite a rather dull performance and a far too hesitant and uncharacteristically lacking consistent work ethic, an eventual 94-87 loss to Argentina might have been there for the taking in the final five minutes.

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Season 77 record: 10-4 (3rd)

Season 77 summary: La Salle was favored to retain the UAAP men's basketball crown in Season 77 thanks to a powerful, intact line-up, but its campaign was derailed by injuries to key players. Starting point guard Thomas Torres, in particular, went down with an injury early in the season, forcing Almond Vosotros and Jeron Teng to take on ball-handling duties. The Green Archers still made the Final Four as the third seed, but lost to the FEU Tamaraws in a virtual best-of-three series.

Key losses: Arnold Van Opstal, Almond Vosotros, Norbert Torres

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Gary David of Gilas Pilipinas. Sports5 file/Paul Ryan Tan

The Philippine national men’s basketball team aims to finally build a winning streak as it takes on Japan in the 37th William Jones Cup Wednesday at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Gilas Pilipinas and Japan face off at 3 p.m. live on TV5.

The Filipinos (2-1) are still fresh from their 85-71 trouncing of Russian club Spartak Primorye in a highly physical game that saw Sonny Thoss and Terrence Romeo on the receiving end of the opponents’ rugged play.

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Danny Ildefonso. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

With Danny Ildefonso no longer set to play in the PBA in the upcoming season after being released by the Meralco Bolts, a development the PBA club confirmed, the two-time MVP and member of the league’s 40 Greatest Players will be mulling his future – though he’s not about ready to leave the sport of basketball just yet.

The 6-foot-5 veteran slotman told Fraulein Olavario of News5 that he has offers from both National University and the Ateneo de Manila juniors team – the defending champions of their respective divisions in the UAAP – to become part of their coaching staffs as a skills coach.

Both NU and Ateneo are schools that are close to Ildefonso’s heart.

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The Filipinos fought on while staying calm and composed, slowly pulling away in the second half en route to the crucial win that sent Gilas Pilipinas back in contention in the nine-team, eight-nation tourney.

Gilas Pilipinas bounced back from a 70-82 loss to South Korea the previous day, handing Spartak a first loss in four matches.

“Had they (the Nationals) backed down from them (the Russians), they would have to confront me,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin after the match marred by a near free-for-all just at the outset of the contest.

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Dikembe Mutombo will become the fourth former player to have his jersey number retired by the Hawks. Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks will retire Dikembe Mutombo's No. 55 on Nov. 24, when the team will be hosting the Boston Celtics.

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin made the announcement Tuesday, also declaring Sept. 1, 2015, as Dikembe Mutombo Day.

Mutombo, who was surprised by Koonin's announcement, teared up when he heard the news.

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