Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jordan Clarkson 'disappointed' for being unable to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas

Los Angeles Lakers Fil-Am guard Jordan Clarkson is disappointed that he could not suit up for the 2015 FIBA Asia Men's Championship and would be reduced to a cheerleader again. 
Jordan Clarkson 'disappointed' for being unable to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas put up a last ditch effort to make Clarkson eligible for the Olympic qualifier but did not beat the deadline on Tuesday.
"I'm very disappointed I won't be able to play with the Gilas National Team during the FIBA Asia Championships from September 23 to October 3. We can all agree, the 12 men selected to represent the Philippines in this 2015 FIBA Asia Championship have earned the right and any continued efforts on my part would not be fair to the team. I will cheer them onto Gold. "Let's go to Rio," Clarkson said in a statement on Wednesday.

With Clarkson not yet eligible to play for the Philippines, SBP submitted the final lineup led by former NBA player Andray Blatche and Gilas returnees Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris and Gabe Norwood. 

Clarkson had a heart to heart talk with his dad, who previously disapproved a possible FIBA Asia stint with Gilas this year. 

"Upon my return from supporting Gilas in The Jones Cup, I had a great talk with my dad. I told him of my experiences with the team and how passionate I was about representing an entire country. My Dad told me to follow my heart," Clarkson said. 

Meanwhile, the Lakers management earlier said that they could release Clarkson to the national team in the early phase of the elimination while his clearance to play the whole tournament would have been subject for review of the coaching staff. 

"I spoke to Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, and he shared the same sentiments about representing an entire country and supported my decision either way," said Clarkson, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Lakers. 

The Fil-Am guard, who was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team last season thanked the Filipino fans for their support and all the people, who put in the effort to get him a chance to play in the Olympics. 

"The Filipino Fans are some of the most passionate in the world and many of them are Laker's supporters. I want to sincerely thank all of the fans who sent me letters of encouragement during these last three months about Gilas," Clarkson said. 

Despite his non-inclusion in the FIBA Asia tournament this year, Clarkson remains hopeful that he could play for the Philippines in the future as he continues to follow his Olympic dream. 

"I trust my team of advisors as they all worked very hard to get terms prepared that would afford me the opportunity to be part of Gilas, if approved. I'd like to say "thank you" for all the people that worked diligently in an attempt to make a dream become reality," said Clarkson, who made special mention of the SBP Management led by MVP and Mr. Ricky Vargas and Mr. Gregorio, Maria Espaldon of East-West Private, and his team.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios told on Tuesday that they will put to rest the eligibility issue for now as they shift their focus on the Gilas' campaign in the FIBA Asia in the hopes of qualifying for next year's Rio Olympics where a talent like Clarkson could come in handy. 

"Pahinga muna re: (Clarkson) eligibility. No rush for now. Salamat sa suporta. We gave it a good try," SBP executive director Sonny Barrios told in a text message from Geneva, Switzerland after a marathon meeting with the FIBA officials on Tuesday morning (Tuesday night in Manila).

Gilas are aiming for the gold to automatically qualify for the Olympics but a top three finish will still give them another shot through a wildcard qualifier next year. Either way, SBP is expected to go all out in securing Clarkson's clearance to help Gilas stand a chance.


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