Clarkson can’t wait to don Gilas colors again | Inquirer Sports

Clarkson can’t wait to don Gilas colors again

/ 05:10 AM May 01, 2021

Suiting up for the Philippine national team again remains high up there on Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson’s list.

“That’s definitely something I want to do,” the Filipino-American said in a guest appearance in ONE Sport’s The Game on Thursday night. “Hopefully, everything lines up and I’m free that time and moment.”

Clarkson wore the Gilas Pilipinas uniform during 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he played head and shoulders above the field. He was also tapped by the Philippine Sports Commission as the country’s flag bearer.


That Clarkson campaign to play for Gilas was not an entirely smooth ride as the NBA, and his team then, the Cleveland Cavaliers, initially thumbed down Clarkson’s bid over a rule that stipulates that the league’s players could only participate in the Olympic Games and Fiba-sanctioned events.


The NBA went on to overturn its decision with a “one-time exception,” just before the Asian Games began.

“I’ll go and put that Gilas jersey back on and go win us something,” Clarkson said with a smile.

Gilas reached the quarterfinals but again bowed to old tormentor South Korea before settling for a fifth place finish.

Incidentally, Gilas is preparing for two tough Fiba qualifying events without the benefit of pros, as program director Tab Baldwin said there are “mitigating factors in most decisions that are made in life.”

“[In] this particular one, we are in a program where we are grooming talented players of the future, for the future,” said the former national coach.

“So the decision was not really that tough when we knew that it could be a very useful exercise for our young players to go through these competitions—the Fiba windows and the OQT,” he went on.


Clarkson is one of many Filipino-foreigners who are ineligible to play as locals because of a Fiba rule that requires players to be passport holders before turning 16.

In a recent New York Times feature, Clarkson expressed eagerness to backstop Gilas in the 2023 World Cup which the country is set to cohost.

And it’s easy to understand why.

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“You (Filipinos) are always in my mind, pushing me to do great things,” said Clarkson, now a front-runner for the NBA’s Sixth Man plum with career-high average of 17.5 points and four rebounds a game for the Jazz. “I keep you all in my heart.”

TAGS: Basketball, Gilas Pilipinas, Jordan Clarkson

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