Jordan Clarkson beat the odds and played for the Philippines in the Asian Games last year. Will he be able to don the national team colors anew in the upcoming 2019 Fiba World Cup?
That’s the question in every Filipino basketball fan’s mind right now, after Gilas Pilipinas punched a ticket to the prestige tournament over the weekend. Although not a part of the Yeng Guiao squad that duked it out against Kazakhstan in Astana, the 26-year-old Filipino-American guard couldn’t help but beam with pride after the team’s recent accomplishment.
“Congrats to my bros and the country such a honor for the country, qualifying for the world cup, so hyped!!! Hope to see you guys in china!!! 🤘🏾🇵🇭#Puso,” the Cleveland Cavaliers player captioned a photo of himself rocking the National Team colors.
Although the NBA did grant him a “one-time exemption” to participate in the separate quadrennial meet last August, sports governing body FIBA currently does not recognize Clarkson as a local despite his clear Filipino heritage. Each team is only allowed to field in one naturalized player – a slot held by Andray Blatche. The same dilemma has also caused Gilas to missed out on the services of Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle, who both failed to acquire dual passports before the age of 16.
In four games for the Philippines in the Asian Games, the explosive combo-guard normed 26 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
With over six months left till the start of the tournament in China, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has made it known that Clarkson’s eligibility in China will be their primary concern.