Wednesday, August 26, 2015
What Lakers' Jordan Clarkson needs to play for Gilas Pilipinas
Although fans are ecstatic over the possible addition of Jordan Clarkson to Gilas Pilipinas, a Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive clarified that the Filipino-American NBA player has to go through processes first before he can suit up for the national team.
SBP Executive Director Renauld "Sonny" Barrios tempered the expectations of local fans, even as he confirmed that Clarkson has a Philippine passport since the age of 12.
“Fact 1, we have a copy of his passport that he secured before has was 16,” Barrios said in an interview with Boyet Sison on ANC’s Top Story. “Fact 2, we submitted a copy of it to FIBA as the initial step for the formal approval of his eligibility.”
“To make matters clear, we are not saying he is already eligible. We are in the process of seeking formal approval for his eligibility.”
Foreign-born players are required to secure a passport from the country where he has lineage before they turn 16 so that he can represent the country in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments as a local.
Clarkson arrived in Manila on Monday to act as an “observer” in Gilas Pilipinas’ practices.
The 23-year-old was described as a “steal” of a pick after he selected in the second round with the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards. He was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft night.
Barrios added that aside from an approval from FIBA, Clarkson will also need to get clearance from his mother club and the NBA itself.
“Nothing is cast in stone yet,” said Barrios. “Aside from the FIBA eligibility, the second portion is the Los Angeles Lakers’ approval. So malayo pa tayo sa ‘sigurado na bang lalaro.’ My answer is wala… walang kasiguraduhan. Nilalakad pa lang natin, we are going through a process on several camps.”
Barrios admitted that Clarkson’s presence in the Philippines states a lot about his willingness to play for the Philippines.
“The fact that he flew 10,000 miles away to signify his keen interest and want or desire for the national team is a big start for all of us.”
Clarkson's possible inclusion to Gilas Pilipinas has been a welcome development for the national squad that has been struggling to get a complete roster.
San Miguel bigman June Mar Fajardo and Ginebra San Miguel's LA Tenorio have already begged off from national duties, while coach Tab Baldwin also has yet to hear from Rain or Shine's Jeff Chan and Paul Lee.
The nationals will be competing in the coming FIBA Asia Championship, which is the regional qualifier for the 2015 Rio Olympics. (READ: LA Lakers Aware of Jordan Clarkson's Gilas Pilipinas interest)