Jordan Clarkson not with Gilas–here’s why
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA—Gilas Pilipinas faces Japan in Tokyo on Friday at the start of qualifying play for the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
A field of 80 countries from four geographical zones are vying for 31 open slots in the tournament alongside host China.
The top two teams from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia/Oceania will be guaranteed a place along with host Japan in the men’s basketball event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Not in the lineup for Gilas in the Asia/Oceania zonal is Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, who would have been a likely starter for coach Chot Reyes.
Clarkson, who gets paid $11.5 million this season, has been connecting with his roots.
Granting that Clarkson had resolved eligibility problems, the NBA’s season schedule in direct conflict with the Fiba qualifiers would have prevented him from playing anyway.
Fiba, basketball’s international governing body, has decided to follow a qualifying model similar to the one Fifa, its soccer counterpart, employs to establish the cast of teams for soccer’s World Cup.
But there’s a huge twist.
While the Fifa has “windows” of time to allow national teams to call up players for qualifying matches, the Fiba has no authority to compel NBA or EuroLeague teams to release players for a similar purpose.
In the past, Fiba had relied on summer qualifiers for its own major international competitions—thus ensuring that players of the world’s premier basketball leagues are available to their national teams.
Now national squads will have to rely on less heralded players to get the job done in the qualifiers. Many of these players would then be asked to step aside for the stars for the actual championship in China.
The new format does not affect the Philippine Basketball Association.
While the Gilas team is composed mostly of PBA superstars, Team USA, coached by former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, will send 11 players from the NBA’s developmental league and one free agent to the AmeriCup tournament.
We’d like to ask Alison Bogli, the Lakers’ media relations director about Clarkson’s current visibility in LA’s historic Filipino town and why the team should nurture ties with the largest Fil-Am basketball fan base in America.
But Bogli has not been as responsive as her former boss John Black, the team’s long time media guy until Magic Johnson became director of basketball operations.
According to the Asian Journal weekly newspaper run by the husband and wife team of Roger and Cora Oriel, Clarkson has been doing the rounds of LA’s Fil-Am organizations and businesses.
“This is a cool experience for me,” Clarkson told the Journal. “I’m going to keep representing LA, the Filipino community, as well as the Lakers.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.