Baldwin would love to have Jordan Clarkson in Gilas team, but not keeping hopes up
Gilas coach Tab Baldwin says there's no denying what Jordan Clarkson can bring to the national team. "Who would turn down a player of that caliber," he says. Jerome Ascano

TAIPEI - Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin is not keeping his hopes too high, but he has made it clear he would welcome the chance to have Jordan Clarkson in his team if the Los Angeles Lakers' Fil-American guard is declared eligible for the coming Fiba Asia Championship.

"We hope, we dream that someday he'll play for Gilas," Baldwin said when asked about the possibility of the 6-5 guard reinforcing Gilas in the Changsha, China tournament beginning on September 23.

Clarkson arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday and has expressed a 'sincere desire' to play for the Philippines, but his stint in the Fiba-Asia remains up in the air since he has yet to get clearance from the Lakers and is still to be declared eligible by world basketball body Fiba.

"I'm not the person to ask," Baldwin said when asked about Clarkson's availability. "I don't declare eligibility and I'm not the Los Angeles Lakers."

But at the same time, the American-New Zealander said he will be happy to have Clarkson on board if he is cleared.

"Of course. Who's gonna turn down a player of his caliber?" he said.

[See Clarkson assures that he 'sincerely wants to play for Gilas,' vows to sort out issue with dad]

But with the eligibility issue dragging on for far too long, Baldwin warned that the situation will be far from ideal for Gilas if Clarkson comes in so late in the day.

"If he comes in at the last moment, it's gonna present some issues. There won't be a smooth a transition into a team, there never is. But f you come in late, I don't care how talented you are (there will be problems)," he said.

"But certainly we can't deny his talent, there's no way."

Clarkson, 23, is expected to join Gilas in this city next week but is not expected to play.

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