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MANILA, Philippines – Fil-Am Los Angeles Laker Jordan Clarkson will not don a Pilipinas jersey in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship but the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas or SBP is "hopeful" about his participation in the future.
The 23-year old guard, whose mother Annette is from Pampanga, was recently in the Philippines and participated sparingly in one of Gilas' practices as he was named to the 24-man pool. He then flew out to Taiwan to support the team during its first few games of the Jones Cup.
But Clarkson's inclusion in the final line-up became doubtful as reports surfaced he cannot miss mandatory Lakers training camp, which will coincide with the FIBA Asia. Clarkson would have only been able to play in Gilas' elimination round games but not in the playoffs should the nationals advance in the tournament that runs from September 23 to October 3.
Due to the conflict in schedule, the SBP no longer pursued his eligibility with FIBA, according to SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.
Clarkson previously expressed his intent to be part of the Gilas program until 2024 or until he's 32 years old.
Read the full statement from SBP on Clarkson's situation below:
The vision of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is to form a national team that will be able to qualify for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. That goal is fueled by the incomparable and inspiring love for basketball Filipinos have. We have always wanted to give our team the best possible chance, thereby instilling national pride in the hearts of our basketball crazy fans.
We did all that we could to have Jordan Clarkson join Gilas for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship but we are saddened to report that we are not able to beat the deadline to secure the necessary clearances on time.
Although we pushed the boundaries whenever possible, this process cannot be rushed if it were to be done properly. But we respectfully adhere to the schedules set by the Los Angeles Lakers whom SBP officials Ricky Vargas and Pato Gregorio met with to try to exhaust all possible options. SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios was also in Geneva to personally attend to the guidelines set by FIBA which also required more time.
The interest and passion of Jordan Clarkson himself with the full support of his family, to don the Gilas jersey serves as a reason for SBP to be hopeful. Though the doors on the 2015 FIBA Asia meet have been closed, the future of the national team program is encouraging with Clarkson’s desire to represent flag and country.
Finalizing the lineup for FIBA Asia was a challenge for Coach Tab Baldwin with the question on the availability of Jordan Clarkson looming. But now, the team shall move forward and put together a squad that will go into battle for national pride.
Jordan Clarkson himself realizes that his inclusion to the Philippine Team at this late hour may possibly distract the focus of the team.
The Los Angeles Lakers Management has allowed Jordan Clarkson to play for the Gilas Pilipinas Team as long as it will not conflict with the schedule of the NBA. Unfortunately, under this limitation, Jordan Clarkson can only participate in the elimination phase of the tournament. This scheduling issue is distinct only to the FIBA Asia Zone, and it does not occur in the other FIBA zones. By this token, we will ask FIBA Asia to consider holding the tournament in the same manner as FIBA Americas, Europe, Oceania and Africa do, that is avoiding scheduling conflict with the calendar of the NBA. – Rappler.com