MANILA, Philippines – There is still a slim chance that Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson can play for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games.
Clarkson was initially included in the line-up of the team that would be sent to the Asiad, before the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) decided to withdraw from the competition.
With the SBP changing its mind and opting to send a team to the quadrennial event, they are now also trying to get Clarkson back in the roster.
"We are trying to move heaven and earth to make it happen," SBP president Al Panlilio said in a text message shared to reporters. "But stars have to align."
"(We) hope he gets eligibility, NBA clearance, and we agree on a deal," he added.
Eligibility was a huge issue for Clarkson, as the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has a different set of rules than FIBA. It can be recalled that back in 2014, naturalized center Andray Blatche was not allowed to play in the Asiad because he did not fulfill OCA's residency rules.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas already previously admitted that there was, at best, a 20-30% chance that they could have gotten Clarkson to play in the Asian Games.
Had he gotten the go-signal, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard would have been the easy choice as flag-bearer, according to chef-de-mission Richard Gomez.
The Los Angeles Lakers selected Clarkson in the second round of the 2014 NBA Rookie Draft, before shipping him to Cleveland this year. The 26-year-old guard averaged 13.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game in the past NBA season.
It is business as usual for Clarkson, who is doing summer workouts ahead of the new NBA season.
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