Eligibility pending as Fiba awaits additional documents from Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson, the celebrated Los Angeles Lakers Fil-American guard, is working on supplying supporting documents that will help in his bid to gain eligibility for this year’s Fiba Asia championship in China.
Clarkson, who is set to join Gilas Pilipinas in the team’s trip to Chinese Taipei for the Jones Cup, has submitted proof that he has held a Philippine passport even before he was 16, the cutoff age set by Fiba for foreign-born players who want to play for a country where they have roots to acquire a passport from that country.
“We already sent the passport to Fiba and Fiba came back to us with additional requirements that we need to submit before the board can clear Clarkson’s eligibility,” said Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios. “We’ve already asked Clarkson to provide us with these documents so we can submit them back to Fiba.”
Barrios did not elaborate what documents Fiba requested but said Clarkson was working on providing them as soon as possible. Barrios hopes to provide Fiba with the documents within the next few weeks.
“We’re really working on a tight schedule,” Barrios said, who added Fiba will decide quickly on Clarkson’s eligibility once the Lakers guard submits them.
For now, Barrios has listed Clarkson’s status in Gilas Pilipinas practices as “observer,” although the 6-5 guard’s name was submitted in the 24-man list the SBP provided Fiba with.
Clarkson will attend Gilas’ practice on Wednesday.
National coach Tab Baldwin hopes to use the Jones Cup as a final tryout for the Fiba Asia tilt, where the champion books a slot to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Once Fiba green-lights Clarkson’s eligibility, Barrios said the cager will seek permission from the Lakers to suit up for the country. The Lakers have already said they are aware of negotiations between Clarkson and the SBP.
“The ball is in our court,” Barrios said. “Once Clarkson submits the documents to me, we will transmit them to Fiba right away.”
The possibility of Clarkson playing for Gilas without naturalization, thus allowing the team to also field Andray Blatche, has lit up social media, exciting fans of the national team.
“But we have to wait for Fiba’s approval,” Barrios said. “Once Fiba says with finality that Clarkson is declared eligible to suit up for Gilas as a local, then we can look forward to planning for the Fiba Asia tournament with him around.”
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