Abueva, Romeo lead Gilas Pilipinas final 12; Clarkson out
Jordan Clarkson will not be playing in the Fiba Asia Championship for Gilas Pilipinas, after all.
And so, too, are former Nationals Gary David and Jimmy Alapag and Jones Cup campaigners Aldrech Ramos, Troy Rosario and Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas asked for an apology to the Filipino people for not being able to beat the Fiba deadline that would further prove the Filipino lineage of Clarkson even as coach Tab Baldwin named his “(12) basketball heroes to play and fight for glory on our road to (the) Rio (de Janeiro Olympics next year).”
“We did all that we could to have Jordan Clarkson join Gilas for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship,” said the SBP statement. “Although we pushed the boundaries whenever possible, this process cannot be rushed if it were to be done properly.”
“We are saddened to report that we were not able to beat the deadline to secure the necessary clearances on time.”
National team rookies Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo, two of the brightest performers in Gilas’ second place finish in the Jones Cup, are in the squad together with Jason Castro, Marc Pingris, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Ranidel de Ocampo, JC Intal, Gabe Norwood, Asi Taulava, Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros and naturalized player Andray Blatche.
Clarkson had declared to SBP officials Ricky Vargas and Pato Gregorio that he is “all in” for Gilas until the 2024 Olympics, with the cage executives even going to Los Angeles to talk to the Lakers and to Clarkson’s family.
Meanwhile, Lebanon backed out as the fourth team in the MVP Cup, a pocket tournament set to start Friday which will be Gilas Pilipinas’ final event before going to the Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China later this month.
There was no official reason given by the Lebanese national team from pulling out, which left the Filipinos, the Wellington Saints of New Zealand and Chinese Taipei in the roster.
A day before the end of the Jones Cup in Taipei on Sunday, several local reporters there were writing stories about the USA Select-Overtake team having reportedly been invited by the organizers to take the place of Lebanon.
There was no confirmation of that story, though.
Gilas defeated all those teams in the Jones Cup – all in high-wire style – with the 92-88 victory over the Kiwis going an extra five minutes where Dondon Hontiveros played the hero after shooting 11 points in extension.