Clarkson won't join Gilas for Olympic qualifiers


Posted at Apr 12 2016 08:08 PM

Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) shoots over Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) at Staples Center. Richard Mackson, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

MANILA -- Los Angeles Lakers’ Filipino-American player Jordan Clarkson won’t be able to join Gilas Pilipinas when it competes at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.

According to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), FIBA has forced them to choose between fielding Clarkson or Andray Blatche in the qualifying tournament, which will be held in Manila.

“When I was in Geneva [FIBA headquarters] last March, we talked about Jordan Clarkson again and I was told to choose between him and Andray Blatche,” SBP president President Manny V. Pangilinan said in a statement posted on Gilas Pilipinas' official website on Tuesday.

Pangilinan said the SBP and the national team’s coaching staff have decided to pick Blatche given their preparation time.

“The decision is to get Blatche back," he said.

With Clarkson, the SBP would have to go through a complicated process before it could secure his services. Blatche, on the other hand, is already a naturalized citizen and has already played for the national team.

READ: Blatche ‘safer choice’ for Gilas instead of Clarkson

“Blatche is already a naturalized Filipino while si Jordan, we have to go through a long process and documentation at saka masalimuot 'yung pagkuha sa kaniya kasi we have to go through several groups. We don’t know if whether he would have enough time to be here to prepare for the July event,” Pangilinan explained.

"Mas familiar si Andray sa system ni Tab [Baldwin] and the players so given the short preparation time, I think the safer choice is Blatche.”

Pangilinan, however, did not rule out the possibility of getting Clarkson for the national team for future tournaments.

“We’re only talking about the FIBA OQT (Olympic Qualifying Tournament),” he clarified.

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