SBP still wants Jordan Clarkson to play as a local for Gilas

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2022 01:00 PM

Jordan Clarkson competed for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games. File photo.
Jordan Clarkson competed for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games. File photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is not giving up hope that Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson can play for Gilas Pilipinas as a local in the FIBA World Cup 2023.

Clarkson, 29, has Filipino roots through his mother Annette, and played for Gilas in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta after receiving a one-time exemption from the NBA. However, he is not eligible to play for Gilas as a local as he acquired his Philippine passport after the age of 16.

According to Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, the SBP continues to lobby FIBA to allow Clarkson to play as a local.

"Not only are we making moves, we're making very serious moves," Reyes revealed during an appearance on "Power and Play" this weekend.

"Chairman MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) is planning a trip to Geneva in March or April to really, personally lobby to allow Jordan to play as a local," he added.

"That's how serious we are."

Clarkson was spectacular for the Philippines in the Asian Games, marking his debut with 28 points against China though Gilas just fell short, 82-80. They failed to make the podium after a bitter loss to rivals South Korea, but Clarkson eventually led the squad to a fifth-place finish.

In his final game in the Asiad, Clarkson put on a show with 29 points against Syria in a 109-55 win.

If FIBA rules are not changed, Clarkson will only be allowed to play in the World Cup as a naturalized player, but Reyes remains hopeful that the SBP will succeed in its endeavor.

"Hopefully, we can have him play as a local, so that he can play together with Ange (Kouame)," said Reyes, referring to the Ateneo de Manila University center who was naturalized last year.

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