MANILA, Philippines – After the NBA stipulated that their players cannot join the 2018 Asian Games, Philippine local sports officials are now calling out the league for clarification on China's lineup that includes Zhou Qi from the Houston Rockets and Ding Yanyuhang from the Dallas Mavericks.
"We seek fairness from the NBA," Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Victorino "Ricky" Vargas said in a statement.
He added: "They cited a rule disallowing Jordan Clarkson from playing for the Philippines. Are we to understand that the same rule does not apply to the Chinese NBA players?"
The NBA thumbed down Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson to join the Philippine team, as the rule states that players can only participate in the Olympics, FIBA Basketball World Cup, and Continental Cup competitions.
"We are faced with a confusing situation. China has submitted a line up that includes Zhou Qi and Ding Yanyuhang, current NBA players," Vargas said.
"NBA, please enlighten us. Isn't China subject to the same rule that the NBA caused on Clarkson not allowing him to play for the Philippine team? Or did China simply disobey? And if so, what now?"
On the other hand, POC vice president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino claimed that he was "shocked" that the China was able to easily line up two NBA players.
"I am shocked at the news that China is presenting a line up with 2 NBA players. We were told that the NBA does not allow its players to play in tournaments such as the Asian Games," Tolentino said.
"We hope that the NBA will be consistent with its rulings and give us a fair shake. This should not be too much to ask."
Last Sunday, Philippines' chef de mission to Asian Games Richard Gomez and POC secretary-general Patrick Gregorio expressed their disappointment with the NBA after it rejected Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' appeal to allow Clarkson to represent the Philippines in the Asiad.
Clarkson, who was an NBA clearance away from fulfilling his dream of playing for Gilas Pilipinas, also admitted his disappointment in a Facebook post.
Gilas Pilipinas will begin its Asian Games campaign without Clarkson on Thursday, August 16, against Kazakhstan. – Rappler.com