MANILA, Philippines –Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) remains hopeful that Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson can suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2018 Asian Games even as the Cleveland Cavaliers guard faces eligibility issues.
"It’s going to be difficult but we’re still hoping. He’s really Filipino unlike Andray who was really naturalized. Clarkson is really Pinoy," said SBP president Al Panlilio on Thursday, July 26.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Constitution and Rules' Article 53 states that players born outside Asia can only play if they are citizens of the country they want to represent and have resided continuously for a period of no less than 3 years. Naturalized players similarly have a residency requirement.
Despite the uncertainty, SBP is taking its chances by including the Cavs guard in the lineup while working on his release from the NBA.
"Sonny (Barrios, SBP executive director) wrote [a letter] last night formally asking the Cavaliers for clearance. But initial indication we got is mukhang okay yung Cleveland (it looks like Cleveland is okay), but we have to formalize it and the NBA has to also clear, but I think if the Cavs say that they are okay, then most probably the NBA will say okay," explained Panlilio.
The OCA, though, will have the final say if Clarkson is eligible for the 2018 Asian Games.
"He wants to play for Gilas. It’s always been his dream to play for Gilas yun nga eligibility yung magiging mahirap para sa kanya (eligibility will be the problem for him)," added Panlilio.
Clarkson is one of the players chosen to fortify the Rain or Shine core that will banner the lineup for the Asian Games in Jakarta from August 18 to September 2.
The Gilas Pilipinas lineup for the continental meet had to be retooled following the SBP's decision to pull out the original Talk 'N Text players who figured in the infamous brawl between the Philippines and Australia last July 2.
"From a moral standpoint, after that incident, ipahinga muna yun mga players who got exposed to the incident (the players who got exposed to the incident have to rest)," said Panlilio.
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.