Lakers aware of Jordan Clarkson’s possible Gilas Pilipinas stint
From the looks of it, the Los Angeles Lakers won’t stand in the way of Jordan Clarkson playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Championship next month.
The Lakers are aware that Clarkson is in the country and is in deep talk with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for a possible stint with Gilas, according to long-time spokesman John Black.
Black was contacted by Inquirer sports columnist Percy Della, who asked the Lakers executive to comment on a report Tuesday that speculated Clarkson was to play as a Filipino in the Olympic qualifier set in Changsha, China next month.
“We (Lakers) know that he is over there (in the Philippines) having conversations with the National team and other governing organizations (the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas),” Black said in an e-mail to Della.
“But we have no additional information that we could share with you at this time.”
Black’s reply reinforced the Monday report that said that Clarkson, born to Filipino mother Annette Davis, is a holder of a Philippine passport, one issued to him while he was a child growing up in the United States.
If Clarkson does not have the credentials that would qualify him to play as a Filipino in the Fiba-Asia, the member of the NBA’s All-Rookie Team last year would not have asked permission from the Lakers to talk to the SBP.
“As I mentioned, we’re aware he’s there and involved in discussions. We don’t have anything to add or further comment at this time,” Black said when pressed by Della for details of Clarkson’s trip.
The SBP has not yet announced with finality the inclusion of Clarkson as it makes sure that the cage body could satisfy the stringent eligibility rules of the Fiba regarding players with dual citizenships.
But Clarkson will be flying to Chinese-Taipei on Sunday to join the squad in the Jones Cup, which will be used by coach Tab Baldwin as a gauge for his final lineup for the Olympic qualifier.
Right now, Gilas has a total of 16 players vying for slots, counting Marc Pingris, the Star superstar who had a last-minute change of heart, and amateur Troy Rosario.
Gilas won the Jones Cup in 2012 with a Gilas Pilipinas squad that was backstopped by Marcus Douthit. This time, the Filipinos will be flying to Taiwan with Andray Blatche and with Clarkson, would immediately be the team to beat in the nine-team tournament.
The Fiba-Asia Championship is scheduled to start on Sept. 23 in Changsha, China where only one regional berth to the Rio Games will be awarded.
If Clarkson does get the green light to play for the Philippines, the 23-year-old, 6-foot-5 point guard will effectively be disqualified from joining any United States team in a Fiba-sanctioned event in the future.
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