Clarkson Pinoy, but…

In Photo: Jordan Clarkson

FILIPINO-AMERICAN Jordan Clarkson was already a Philippine passport holder when he was 12, raising possibilities that the rookie guard for the Los Angeles Lakers could play for Gilas Pilipinas in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics qualifier next month.

But it won’t be that simple.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios broke the good news about Clarkson on Monday, but stressed that the federation has “do some paper works” to convince the International Basketball Federation (Fiba).

“We are working on it. We want him as a natural born player and not as a naturalized player,” Barrios said.

Fiba requires a player to secure a passport from his country at 16 or younger to be classified as a natural-born player for that country.

Clarkson’s mother, Annette Davis, is originally from Angeles City, Pampanga. His father, Mike Clarkson, is from Texas.

Clarkson arrived in Manila on Monday to endorse Smart. He expressed his desire to play for the national team in the coming Fiba Asia Men’s Championship in Changsa, China, from September 23 to October 3.

Gilas Pilipinas, meanwhile, is now focusing on the annual William R. Jones Cup invitational tournament after going winless in Estonia.

The Jones Cup kicks off from August 29 and ends on September 6 in Taiwan, a little over two weeks before the Chansa tournament.

The Nationals arrived on Monday night after their four-nation pocket tournament in the Estonian capital Tallinn, where they dropped all their assignments against the Netherlands (62-89), Estonia (80-90) and Iceland (76-86).

The wards of Head Coach Tab Baldwin will take a brief rest before plunging back to practice for the Jones Cup where Gilas could size up—as well as be scouted—its rivals in Changsa.

Besides the Philippines and host nation Chinese Taipei, which is fielding in two teams, the other participating nations in the Jones Cup are reigning Asian champion Iran, Japan, South Korea and club teams from New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

The Philippines takes a bye in the opening day on August 29 but will play eight straight games, giving the Filipinos a taste of competition in Rio qualifiers.

The Filipinos will face Taiwan B on August 30 at 7:30 p.m.; South Korea on August 31 at 5 p.m.; Russia’s selection on September 1 at 1 p.m.; Japan on September 2 at 3 p.m.; Iran on September 3 at 1 p.m.; New Zealand club team on September 4 at 1 p.m.; United States selection on September 5 at 5 p.m.; and Taiwan A on September 6 at 1 p.m.

All the games will be played at the New Taipei Hsinchuang Stadium.

The Philippines is returning to the Jones Cup after a two-year absence. A team coached by Chot Reyes won for the Philippines its fourth Jones Cup in 2012. The Filipinos won in 1981 (Northern Cement Consolidated), 1985 (San Miguel Beer) and 1998 (Centennial Team).

Baldwin said the Jones Cup gives them the most logical chance to scout Iran, South Korea, Japan and the vastly improved Chinese Taipei.



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