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MANILA, Philippines – Jordan Clarkson playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers is close to a sure thing.
National team head coach Chot Reyes said the plan is to have the Filipino-American NBA player come on board on August 15 – giving him 10 days of practice before the Philippines starts its second-round campaign against Lebanon.
“He has made himself available. He said he could come in and practice starting I think August 15 for the next window,” Reyes said on Wednesday, July 27.
“We’re doing all we can to make it happen because I think it would be great for the Filipino people to watch Jordan play for the national team here in the Philippines.”
The Utah Jazz guard first donned the national colors in the 2018 Asian Games, where he led the squad to fifth place for its best finish in the continental showpiece in 16 years.
But unlike the Asiad where eligibility rules are relaxed, Clarkson will take the Philippines’ naturalized player spot in the Asian Qualifiers.
“He is naturalized,” said Reyes.
The addition of the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year gives Gilas Pilipinas a much-needed shot in the arm against a formidable Cedars side that exceeded expectations in the recent FIBA Asia Cup.
Powered by star guard Wael Arakji, Lebanon almost took down defending champion Australia in the Asia Cup final, losing only by a single possession and pushing the mighty Boomers to the limit.
Reyes, though, errs on the side of caution regarding the status of Clarkson.
“Until he is actually here, we can never be a hundred percent. Sometimes there are players who sign contracts but never arrive. So we cannot really be a hundred percent,” Reyes said.
“But right now we’re planning with him in the lineup – Jordan Clarkson as part of the lineup.”
After Lebanon, the Philippines will wrap up the fourth window against Saudi Arabia on August 29. – Rappler.com