SENATOR Bong Go vowed to do whatever it takes to make NBA star Jordan Clarkson available to play for Gilas Pilipinas at the 2019 Fiba World Cup in China.
The newly elected senator told SPIN.ph said he recently met with officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to reiterate his support in convincing world body Fiba to allow Clarkson to play as a local.
"Nakausap ko 'yung mga officials ng SBP and I told them, I am ready to do everything just for the Philippines to parade Jordan Clarkson in the coming Fiba World Cup,” said Go, a basketball buff who is a fixture in PBA games.
“Sana makapaglaro si Clarkson. Ako ipaglalaban ko 'yan, kung ano maitutulong ko para makapaglaro si Jordan, kasi pride para sa mga Pilipino ang makita ang Pinoy, na nasa NBA, na lumalaban para sa bandila natin,” he added.
The SBP is awaiting Fiba's response to an appeal that the Fil-American guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers be allowed to play as a local even if questions on whether or not he was able to secure a Philippine passport before turning 16 remain unsettled.
Another hurdle to Clarkson's availability is his situation in the NBA, where he is in the final season of a $50-million contract before becoming a free agent.
Go, who was instrumental in convincing Gilas to send a team of PBA players reinforced by Clarkson in last year's Asian Games, said there's no harm in trying.
“Mas mainam naman yung gumawa tayo ng hakbang kesa naman naghihintay tayo, tapos wala pala,” he said. “Sabi ko sa team management ng Gilas, kung ano ang pwede kong maitulong, ibibigay ko yun para sa bansa natin."
The Philippines faces a gargantuan task in Foshan, China where it will face Angola and world basketball powers Serbia and Italy in the group stage.
Go, an adviser to the Gilas team bound for the World Cup, believes that with the best talent from the PBA reinforced by naturalized cager Andray Blatche and Clarkson, Gilas will have a fighting chance.
“Kaya 'yun. Ang galing ng mga Pinoy,” he said.