SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is now ramping up its efforts to have Jordan Clarkson be considered as a local in the hope of fielding the Utah Jazz guard in the Gilas Pilipinas lineup for the 2023 Fiba World Cup.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes bared the federation's brass led by chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan are set to meet with the Fiba central board to once again open the dialogue regarding the eligibility status of the 2021 NBA Sixth Man awardee.
"Not only are we making moves, we're making very serious moves," he told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala. "Chairman MVP is planning a trip to Geneva in March or April to personally lobby to allow Jordan to play as a local and that's how serious we are."
Clarkson's case has long been a bone of contention between the Philippines and Fiba over the rule that states only players who acquired passports before the age of 16 can be considered as locals for the countries they want to represent.
However, there were exceptions that Fiba granted in the past, particularly in the case of Greg Slaughter who was ruled a local in September 2018 even if the Fil-German failed to acquire a Philippine passport before turning 16.
Others, however, weren't as fortunate. Among those who failed to get Fiba clearances were Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle, and Mo Tautuaa who in the past ended up playing for Gilas as naturalized players.
Clarkson did get a chance to don the national colors once, in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta where Gilas ended up at fifth place under coach Yeng Guiao.
Reyes hopes that the Fiba would finally rule in the Philippines' favor in this case.
"Hopefully, we can have him play as a local so that he can play together with Ange [Kouame]," he said.
But it's not just Clarkson who stand to benefit if ever there's a change in tone on the part of Fiba, with Kansas guard Remy Martin also waiting in the wings.
"We know that Remy is ineligible, but if things change and suddenly we are able, the SBP is lobbying for revision of the eligibility rules, you'll never know," Reyes said on Thursday's Spin Zoom In episode.
Martin, who withdrew from the NBA draft to play one last year in the NCAA for the Jayhawks, was included in Reyes' famed '23-for-2023' cadets list back in 2018.
His potential addition could only beef up Gilas' backcourt in the future, although for now, Clarkson's case is of paramount concern especially with the 2023 Fiba World Cup just around the corner.
"Di pwedeng mawala si Jordan. Jordan has to be there," he said.