No assurances’ Clarkson will play in World Cup: Philippines
By Agence France-Presse
The Philippines said Thursday there were “no assurances” NBA star Jordan Clarkson will suit up for the national team at the 2019 basketball World Cup, due to strict eligibility rules.
The Cleveland Cavaliers guard wants to play in the tournament after flying the flag for the Gilas Pilipinas at last year’s Asian Games, but the team are trying to manage expectations.
“It is everybody’s personal wish that Jordan Clarkson will be part of this team in the World Cup. (But) there are no assurances or guarantees that that will happen,” Philippine Basketball Federation honorary chairman Manny Pangilinan told reporters.
Under rules set by FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, only one player per team who acquired legal nationality by naturalisation or by any other means after reaching the age of 16 can take part in the tournament.
Filipino-American Clarkson, 26, obtained his Philippine passport after he turned 16.
The team already include former Brooklyn Nets centre Andray Blatche, who won his Filipino citizenship by law.
Federation president Al Panlilio sketched a potential unpleasant outcome where Gilas may end up having to choose between Clarkson and Blatche, their two best players.
Blatche starred in the Philippines’ defeat of Kazakhstan in Astana last weekend that won the national team their World Cup spot.
Panlilio said they are pushing through with their appeal for FIBA to allow Clarkson to play as a local.
“Everybody is following that FIBA rule. Because of that rule, even other players are considered naturalised even if they are really Filipinos,” Panlilio told AFP.
Team coach Yeng Guiao said bringing Blatche and Clarkson together in the team would increase the odds of success for the Philippines, the 31st-ranked team in the world, in the August 31-September 15 tournament in China.
“All of us want him in the team, every single one of us, but it is really up to our bosses what we can do about it,” Guiao added.