Jordan Clarkson enjoyed a breakout rookie season, continued his strong play into the Las Vegas Summer League, and, via recent summer workouts, looks like he’s ready for the season to start. But before he suits up for the Lakers, he may be wearing the uniform of the Philippine National Team at the FIBA Asia Championship being held in China in late September.
But the name that is sure to draw the most attention is the inclusion of Jordan Clarkson, the Filipino-American Los Angeles Lakers guard whose eligibility to play for Gilas Pilipinas as a “natural born” player was revealed this week by SBP. Clarkson arrived in Manila on Monday night amid high hopes and intrigue over news of his possible eligibility.
It has been an open question whether Clarkson, whose mother is Filipino, was actually eligible to play for the Philippine National team as a “natural born” player. The team, apparently, had tried to recruit him several years ago, but it was believed he was ineligible to play as a natural born player and would have to be naturalized (a la former Net Andray Blatche) in order to suit up for the National Team.
However, per a previous report at Rappler, the governing body of Philippine Basketball is saying that Clarkson does, in fact, qualify:
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Director Sonny Barrios told Rappler on Monday in a phone call that reports of Clarkson’s eligibility to play as a “natural born” Filipino player were true.
Barrios says that the 23-year-old Clarkson has held a Philippine passport for 11 years – making him a pre-teen when he became a citizen.
“In 2004, if I’m not mistaken,” Barrios said.
Barrios said that Clarkson’s camp submitted his documents and that the SBP knew that he acquired his Filipino passport before turning 16 even during Clarkson’s first visit to the Philippines back in May.
“We just didn’t tell it to the public,” said Barrios, who says that SBP wanted to submit the Laker guard’s other documents required by FIBA for his eligibility before making the news public.
“He’s submitted his documents,” Barrios said. “It has been submitted to FIBA, who’s asking for supporting documents. As we speak, those are being submitted to them.”
Some of the supporting documents being requested for include Clarkson’s birth certificate and other legal documents of his mom, Annette, who was born in Angeles, Pampanga.
There is still question whether Clarkson will be allowed to play for the team as FIBA will need to approve his final inclusion. While, as stated above, the Philippine Basketball governing body is claiming Clarkson as a natural born player, documentation will need to be provided to back up this notion and FIBA will have final sign off.
In saying that, the hope is that Clarkson will join the team. There are high hopes for the group, especially after a nice performance in the 2014 FIBA World Cup where the team showed good fight in several games, narrowly losing to Argentina and Croatia in some entertaining match ups. With Clarkson potentially in the fold, the team can make a push towards making the 2016 Olympics by winning the tournament in China.