MANILA, Philippines – After numerous requests and attempts for FIBA to reconsider the status of NBA player Jordan Clarkson to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas as a local and not as a naturalized Filipino, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is accepting with finality that a favorable response isn’t coming.
That is the reason why Clarkson will play for the national team as a naturalized player in the fourth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers later this August here.
“We cannot push for his local status. We’ve accepted that his classification is naturalized. We tried our best. We’ve done all we can to get what we want but now, we’re using him as a naturalized player,” said executive director Sonny Barrios in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
Even before the 6-foot-5 Clarkson made his debut in 2014 with the Los Angeles Lakers, the SBP has tried to lobby for his inclusion as a local for the national team to the FIBA Central Board.
However, although Clarkson has Filipino blood, he is not considered as a local because of a FIBA rule.
According to Barrios, it’s not as if the SBP – under the leadership of its current president Al Panlilio – has abandoned the idea or fighting for the consideration to have Clarkson as a local.
“We did not abandon. With the level of talks that we’ve had, I hope it would not appear like we abandoned it,” he said. “Because if they said no under proper channels, and we insisted, we don’t want to be told, ‘what part of no did you not understand?’ That’s difficult, we’d appear weak.”
“We’re playing with the cards that are dealt to us. We’ll not sit on our hands and just feel sorry for ourselves. We did not get what was ideal, but we still move forward,” added Barrios.
Clarkson, currently of the Utah Jazz and a former Sixth Man of the Year, will play against Saudi Arabia in the qualifiers here – his first in front of Filipino fans and second with the national team following his stint with the Yeng Guiao-mentored squad during the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
The said qualifier is part of the national team’s preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia. – Rappler.com