Is Jordan Clarkson eligible to play for Gilas? Sources reveal LA Laker a Philippine passport holder
Fresh information reaching reveals Jordan Clarkson was already holding a Philipine passport when the Lakers guard first visited the country in May. Jerome Ascano

IS Jordan Clarkson eligible to play for Gilas Pilipinas?

That question needs to be asked again in the wake of fresh information reaching that the Los Angeles Laker is, contrary to popular belief, a holder of a Philippine passport - and therefore has a chance to pass the stringent Fiba scrutiny and play for the Philippines in international competition.

The 6-5 Fil-American guard out of Missouri, who made the NBA's All-Rookie Team in his debut season with the Lakers, is set to arrive on Monday for his second visit to his mother's homeland in three months.

During his visit, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said the 23-year-old NBA sophomore will 'observe' practices of Gilas and will join the national team in its trip to Chinese Taipei for the annual Jones Cup tournament.

[See Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson signifies intention to play for Gilas ahead of Manila visit]

There had been initial doubts if Clarkson would be eligible to play for Gilas under the Fiba rule requiring players to have secured a passport from the country they plan to represent before they turn 16 - a requirement that has disqualified most Fil-foreign players from suiting up for the national team.

If Clarkson failed to comply with that requirement, the only way he can play for Gilas is by being classified as a naturalized player.

However, highly placed sources said Clarkson, whose mother Annette traces her roots to Angeles, Pampanga, has long been a holder of a Philippine passport.

Another source confirmed to that Clarkson was already holding a Philippine passport when he passed through immigration during his brief visit to the country last May - a detail SBP officials were not aware of until then.

The new development has raised hopes that the Lakers guard may be eligible to suit up for a Gilas side bound for the coming Fiba Asia championship as well as in future international tournaments - certainly a boost for a national team hit by player withdrawals and injuries.

The only question now is if the US-born player secured the Philippine passport before he turned 16 - and if he is willing to represent the country in tournaments overseas.

Considering the trials and tribulation that have hit the latest incarnation of Gilas under Tab Baldwin, this should be a much-needed boost for the national team.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

[See Five lessons from the 'club over country' row that left Gilas without top players]


Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph