MANILA, Philippines – Hopes for Jordan Clarkson’s inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas roster in the immediate future were dashed by the Fil-Am NBA player’s father.
(READ AND VOTE: Build your Gilas Pilipinas dream team)
Mike Clarkson, the father of the 23-year-old Los Angeles Laker, tells PhilStar in an email that the timing is bad for a run with the Philippine national basketball team this year as the upcoming FIBA Asia tournament will conflict with preparations for his second NBA season.
“Having Jordan participate with the Gilas in 2015 isn’t a logical or sound business decision as he enters into this important NBA contract year,” Mike Clarkson was quoted.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Clarkson, who was selected 46th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, is under contract for 2015-2016 for a non-guaranteed $845,059. The NBA season begins October 27.
Samahang ng Basketbol Pilipinas sent shockwaves through the Asian basketball landscape earlier this week when SBP director revealed that Clarkson, whose mother is Filipina, had fulfilled the basic eligibility prerequisite to play for a country as a dual citizen by having a Philippine passport before the age of 16.
SBP tempered expectations by stressing that Clarkson’s eligibility to play for FIBA was not guaranteed, even as Clarkson was included in the 24-man pool for FIBA Asia, which begins September 23 in Changsha, China.
Clarkson, who is currently in the Philippines and will accompany the team to the William Jones Cup in Taiwan this weekend, participated in light drills with the Philippine team on Wednesday night.
(READ: Gilas excited to have Clarkson in practice despite uncertainty)
SBP released a statement from Jordan Clarkson shortly after his father’s statements became public, assuring that his father’s remarks were “that of a very loving dad” while saying “nothing is cast in stone.”
“But I want to assure my Filipino brothers and sisters that, if given the chance and everything can be worked out, I sincerely wish to play for Gilas and contribute to the total team effort for flag and country,” Clarkson is quoted as saying.
“This is the reason why I am observing and familiarizing myself with the team while here and will even follow them in Taipei for the Jones Cup so I can see them compete up close and benefit from the learnings from said experience. Laban Pilipinas! Puso!”
The 6-foot-5 Clarkson, who was born in Florida but raised in San Antonio, Tex., averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.2 rebounds a game during the 2014-15 NBA season.
Clarkson spent time speaking the Ateneo de Manila University’s basketball team and playing chess with boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. He will address the Philippine media for the first time on this trip at a press conference on Friday. – Rappler.com
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