TAIPEI - Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) officials are making a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles to talk to Lakers officials and the father of Jordan Clarkson in the hope of clearing the way for the Fil-Am guard's stint with Gilas in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship later this month.
SBP vice-chairman Ricky Vargas and former PBA chairman Pato Gregorio are leaving this city on Wednesday for Los Angeles were they are scheduled to meet Lakers officials on Friday (Philippine time) and Clarkson's dad who will be flying in from San Antonio, Texas for the meeting.
Vargas said the trip is just another step in SBP's bid to clear the way for Clarkson to suit up for Gilas in the Fiba Asia wars from September 23 to October 3 in Changsha, China and hopefully forge an understanding over the Lakers guard's desire to commit to the national team in the long term.
The two officials go into the meetings filled with hope after sitting down for dinner with the 6-5 guard and hearing him talk about his commitment to and vision for the national team.
Clarkson's dad had previously said it is not 'logical' for the NBA player to play for Gilas on a contract year with the Lakers, but has since threshed things out with his son.
Gregorio said the meeting with Clarkson's dad is not so much to seek his permission for the player's stint with Gilas but is aimed more to make the Philippines' position clearer to the elder Clarkson.
"Para kaming magbibigay pugay, not only to Clarkson's father but also to the Lakers," Gregorio said.
Vargas said the SBP is also working to clear up 'minor details' with Fiba in its bid to make Clarkson eligible to play for the Philippines not only in the 2015 Fiba Asia but also in future international tournaments.
Among other things, Gregorio said they have already submitted an affidavit from Clarkson stating his desire to play for Gilas - just one of a number of documents required by Fiba for eligibility purposes.
Clarkson is set to leave for the US on Thursday and is likely to meet up with the two SBP officials there.
The two officials, however, are racing against time since there is a September 8 deadline for the submission of the final lineups for the Fiba Asia championship.