Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson in Gilas pool
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Holding on to slim hope that Jordan Clarkson will be allowed to suit up in the end, Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao has named the Fil-Am NBA player to the 19-man official pool that the Philippines is submitting for the FIBA World Cup hostilities.

“It’s a small possibility, I think we have about five to 10 percent chance (of Clarkson being allowed by the FIBA to play as a local player). But it would be wise to put him in the pool we submit.  If in case that miracle happens, at least we can exercise our right to name him to the Final 12,” said Guiao who submitted his long list to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas last Monday.

The Phl five is hoping to field Clarkson for the Aug. 31-Sept. 15 world meet but he isn’t eligible as a local yet under current FIBA rules, and the SBP is appealing before the world governing body. Clarkson has previously donned the Gilas colors in last year’s Asian Games, averaging 26 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.0 steal per outing.

“We’re still not giving up on the effort to play him as a local but if unsuccessful, we have the option of using him as backup for Andray (Blatche) as our naturalized player,” said Guiao.

The Gilas mentor expressed confidence if ever Clarkson gets the FIBA greenlight, there won’t be problem with his availability.

“He wants to play. He’s the one who indicated he wants to play,” said Guiao. “As for the NBA, they are allowing NBA players in other countries to play in China so why will they disallow Clarkson?” 

Aside from Clarkson, Guiao also listed Fil-foreigners Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger as backups for the naturalized player spot. 

Making up the locals in the World Cup pool are Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Roger Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Matthew Wright, and rookies Robert Bolick and CJ Perez.

Blatche attended his first practice with Gilas last Monday and appeared in okay form.

“I’m satisfied (with Blatche’s showing in practice). He was in the same shape when he arrived during the last window (for the World Cup qualifiers). But this time, we’ll have more time to prepare him. He should be in better shape for the World Cup than he was in the window,” he said. 

“We’re looking forward for him to get even better and sharper and quicker,” he added.

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