Sunday, October 4, 2015
Jordan Clarkson expresses interest to play for Gilas Pilipinas in Olympic qualifiers next year
After Gilas Pilipinas fell to China in the 2015 FIBA Asia Men's Championship gold medal match, Los Angeles Lakers' Fil-Am guard Jordan Clarkson quickly consoled Filipino basketball fans by voicing out his plan to suit up for the national team in 2016.
Clarkson posted on his Twitter account a video of himself going for a dunk with the caption: Tough Fight: In 2016, Jordan Clarkson and Gilas with the hashtags #AllIn #RoadToRedemption.
Clarkson was originally eyed to join Gilas in FIBA Asia but unfortunately, the NBA sophomore did not get the necessary clearance from the eligibility committee. FIBA told Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios, who personally delivered Clarkson's documents in their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, that the process needs more time.
Tough Fight: In 2016 @JClark5on & #SmartGilas #ALLIN #RoadToRedemption💪🏽❤️🏀🇵🇭 @lettrs http://t.co/TjqkS8g0rM pic.twitter.com/TFtlsjt5fg— Jordan Clarkson (@JClark5on) October 3, 2015
All is not lost for Gilas as their silver medal finish earned them an invite to one of the three Olympic Qualifying tournaments next year. There will be 18 countries vying for the remaining three slots in Rio Olympics. The breakdown of the 18-team cast is three from Asia, Africa and Americas, five from Europe, one from Oceania and the three Olympic qualifying tournament hosts.
After Gilas loss last night, Barrios said that there is no plan yet to bid.
"Right now, there is no plan to bid. Masyadong sariwa pa ang Silver Medal - we want to savour it for the meantime," Barrios told Philstar.com in a text message from Changsha, China.
The three Olympic qualifiers will be played on July 5-10 next year and by that time, there should be no problem for the SBP in getting Clarkson's services since the NBA has already concluded.
Gilas, bronze medalist Iran and fourth placer Japan have all earned an invitation along with FIBA Oceania's New Zealand; EuroBasket's France, Serbia, Greece, Italy and Czech Republic; FIBA America's Argentinca, Canada and Mexico; and FIBA Africa's Angola, Tunisia and Senegal.
FIBA recently announced that the bidding to host the three qualifiers will take place next month with the deadline of submission slated on Nov. 11 and the announcement of hosts to be made three weeks after.
FIBA director of communications Patrick Koller explained to The Star columnist Quinito Henson the participation of Asian teams in the Olympic qualifiers.
“Asia will have at least three teams qualified for the Olympic qualifying tournaments and possibly, a fourth if an Asian country bids and organizes one tournament,” Koller said.
“The teams will be drawn for all Olympic qualifying tournaments but we will apply geographical principles. In other words, we should have at least one Asian team per Olympic qualifying tournament. If an Olympic qualifying tournament is organized in Asia, there will be two in one of the Olympic qualifying tournaments. Format of an Olympic qualifying tournament is two groups of three, each team to play the other two teams in the group, the top two teams to qualify for the semifinals and only the winner of each Olympic qualifying tournament will go to Rio,” he added.
In other words, Gilas, Iran and Japan will be spread out in the three groups. And if ever Philippines won one of the hosting rights, one more Asian country will join them in the cast.
The short tournament is tougher than the FIBA Asia but Gilas will have a fighting chance if they could have longer, more solid preparation plus the pending addition of Clarkson to join forces with Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro and the rest of the squad.