MANILA, Philippines – Although Jordan Clarkson will only act as an observer when Gilas Pilipinas resumes practice on Wednesday, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Renauld "Sonny" Barrios said they expect the Filipino-American NBA player to do more than that.
“Jordan Clarkson will be there during the practice to interact, observe, familiar himself in the system,” said the SBP executive in an interview on ANC's Top Story on Tuesday.
“[He’d] get to know the personalities involved, get to know the players even the coaching staff, even the utility staff.”
Gilas coaches, players, and fans have high hopes that the LA Lakers guard will be able to secure eligibility after it was found out that Clarkson had been a Philippine passport holder since he was 12 years old.
Based on FIBA guidelines, foreign-born players are required to secure a passport from the country where he has lineage before they turn 16 so that he could represent the country in FIBA sanctioned tournaments as a local.
But Barrios said they will also need permission from the LA Lakers and the NBA before they could get the services of the 23-year-old.
This is because the FIBA Asia Championship, where Gilas wants to field Clarkson, coincides with the Lakers’ training camp.
“So there are several things to have to come to jell so to speak before the guy can actually play for us,” said Barrios. “We can only hope and pray for the positive side.”
“I'm not sounding not to optimistic when our listeners hearing our discussion but I want to manage the expectations.”
Meanwhile, Barrios said that the Estonian tournament where Gilas lost all their three games showed that they still have a long way to go.
Although the nationals showed steady improvement, they were still beaten by the Netherlands, Estonia, and Iceland.
“We are very far from where we wanted to be, that's the candid assessment. But the direction is focused on getting to where we want to be by fight night ika nga kumbaga sa boxing,” said Barrios.
He added that naturalized player Andray Blatche is also slowly getting into shape after gaining weight since being away from competition.
“He's overweight, he is not in tip-top condition but he's also getting there,” said the SBP exec. “He's watching plays, he's working out, he's got his personal trainer so we should be there come competition time.”