Clarkson eyes â23 World Cup
Jordan Clarkson

Clarkson eyes ’23 World Cup

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fil-American NBA star Jordan Clarkson wishes to strut his stuff in front of Pinoy fans when Gilas Pilipinas competes in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Clarkson, enjoying a stellar season with the Utah Jazz and with a shot at the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year honors, hopes that by that time, FIBA (International Basketball Federation) will allow him to play for Gilas as a local.

At present, FIBA considers Clarkson a “naturalized” player despite his Filipino lineage. Based on FIBA’s eligibility rules, a player must have acquired a passport or citizenship of the country he wants to play for at the age of 16.

“I think that’s the big thing that’s being figured out right now,” Clarkson said as he made his Gilas plans known in an interview with the New York Times.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is lobbying to amend that particular rule so that Clarkson, a Filipino by Philippine laws, can suit up as a local. The SBP will then tap Ateneo player Angelo Kouame or any of the American-born prospects for the naturalized slot.

Clarkson gave a sampling of his world-class hoop skills when he suited up for the Nationals in the 2018 Asian Games, a tournament that has more lenient eligibility requirements than FIBA competitions.

The 6-foot-5 gunner recorded averages of 25 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 3.3 three-pointers per game in his first stint with Gilas in the regional meet.

The SBP is expected to form the strongest Gilas crew for the prestigious World Cup, which the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.

And it won’t be complete without a legitimate NBA star like Clarkson.

Towering NBA prospect Kai Sotto and US-based AJ Edu are tipped as possible members of that 2023 roster.

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