ALL signs point to Los Angeles Lakers cager Jordan Clarkson not seeing action for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2016 Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila in July.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan admitted having Clarkson play for Gilas in the Manila qualifiers is “a little bit more complicated” due to the process it entails for the Lakers star to get an approval to play for the country’s national team.
“The arrangement with Jordan is a little bit more complicated," said Pangilinan during a press conference on Tuesday. "He is an NBA player, you have to get the approval of himself, his family, his father especially, the agent, the Lakers, and the NBA. Everything has to be done right."
"Mahirap ‘yung he won’t show up on the day itself,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan said Clarkson’s possible stint with Gilas is a contentious issue not just within SBP but also with Fiba, which has 'suggested' that the Philippines not pursue Clarkson and instead stick with naturalized player Andray Blatche.
Pangilinan didn’t go into detail about Fiba’s suggestion. Blatche is a naturalized player and Clarkson, as the SBP claims, is qualified to play as a local player since he holds a Philippine passport.
“Napakalaking debate ‘yan internally. Maski sa Fiba pinag-uusapan ‘yan,” said Pangilinan. “There are solicited suggestions sa akin and I must say that the winning suggestion, if you may, between Clarkson and Blatche is, 'Kunin niyo na si Blatche.'”
Pangilinan said having Blatche is the “safer choice” since Clarkson’s status will still have to go through several processes.
“The decision is Blatche. Let’s stay with that na lang. Mas familiar si Blatche with Tab (Baldwin) and the system. We are given the short preparation time. I think the safer choice is Blatche,” Pangilinan said.