Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Jordan Clarkson to Gilas Pilipinas: "I hope they make it to Rio Olympics"
Even far away from the squad, Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson wished good luck to the Philippine national men’s basketball team that is currently competing in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China.
Clarkson had been considered to be part of Gilas Pilipinas in the tournament, but time constraints regarding his eligibility process as well as his commitment with the Los Angeles Lakers ruled him out.
“I hope they make it to Rio (Olympics) and have the opportunity to keep the team and play well. That’s definitely gonna be good,” Clarkson said during the Lakers’ media day.
Despite being busy fulfilling his responsibilities with the Lakers, the NBA All-Rookie Team member has made it a point to support Gilas Pilipinas during the Olympic qualifier.
When the Filipinos suffered a shock loss to Palestine in their tournament opener, Clarkson rallied behind Gilas Pilipinas and offered some words of encouragement.
“It was heartbreaking to watch. But we only lost the first skirmish; not the war! The real test of our teams’ heart will come against Hong Kong, Kuwait and others in the next rounds!” Clarkson wrote in a note shortly after the loss last week.
“Let’s show our fellow Filipinos and the world our resiliency and the pride it takes to win! Laban! Puso!
“Gilas brothers: the day is coming soon.. when WE will win when the world is watching!” he added.
Since losing to Palestine, Gilas Pilipinas swept its next games, including a huge upset of defending champion Iran, en route to the knockout rounds where they will face Lebanon for their first assignment.
Should Gilas Pilipinas make it to the 2016 Olympics, Clarkson, whose mother hails from Pampanga, will be expected to reinforce the squad.
Clarkson has repeatedly made public his desire to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas, and in August, he arrived in the Philippines to fix the necessary documents for him to be eligible for the FIBA Asia tournament. He even joined the team’s practices.
But he failed to get green light in time for the tournament. And if ever Clarkson had been allowed, he would have just played in the preliminary rounds as he had to go back to the United States to begin training with the Lakers.