Just like any Filipino basketball fan, Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson was elated to see his Gilas Pilipinas brothers make it through to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in September.
The former LA Laker and now Cleveland Cavalier extended his greetings to his fellow nationals after Gilas beat Qatar and Kazakhstan in the final window of the FIBA World Qualifiers.
“Congrats to my bros and the country. Such an honor for the country qualifying for the World Cup. So hyped,” Clarkson said in his Instagram post, which shows him wearing the Gilas jersey.
In the same Instagram post, Clarkson, who played for the national team in the 2018 Asian Games, expressed his desire to join Gilas in the FIBA World Cup.
“Hope to see you guys in China!!!”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) also wants to see Clarkson team up with naturalized player Andray Blatche in the tournament.
However, the World Cup operates under FIBA rules, which mean Clarkson would be classified as a "naturalised" player since he obtained his Filipino passport after the age of 16.
FIBA restricts each team to only one "naturalised" player, meaning the Philippines would have to choose between Clarkson and Blatche.
But the SBP is trying to convince FIBA to accept Clarkson as a Filipino citizen.
"We have been trying to convince or discuss the matter with FIBA," SBP President Al Panlilio said in an AFP report. "Everyone is working on the matter and we will do everything we can to make it happen."
"Based on our constitution, he is Filipino. He has a passport. But he got it after he was 16 years old," Panlilio added.
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