TAIPEI - Tab Baldwin and his Gilas Pilipinas team are in a wait and see mode as the drama over Fil-American guard Jordan Clarkson's availability for the 2015 Fiba Asia championships in Changsha, China plays out.
Clarkson has expressed a desire to be part of the Philippine team bound for Asia's qualifier for the Olympics, but issues surrounding his eligibility with Fiba and the Lakers' willingness to release him for the duration of the September 23 to October 3 tournament remain unresolved with less than three weeks to go.
On Saturday, Lakers president Jeanie Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak told Gilas officials they will 'consult our coaches' on the possibility of allowing the 6-5 guard to skip the team's media day on September 28 and the first three days of training camp in Hawaii to be able to finish the tournament for Gilas.
Baldwin has made it clear he wants Clarkson in his team, but admitted that like everybody else, he, too, doesn't have a clue on whether the Lakers guard can be there or not.
"Nothing to say …. so it’s in suspended animation," the national coach said when asked about Clarkson at the end of Gilas' 78-74 win over a US selection on Saturday.
"We don’t know anything. Who knows? Maybe the coaches are under instruction, maybe it’s the coaches’ decision, I don’t know. We can speculate all we want, but I’m not much of a speculator so we just wait and see."
Clarkson's availability is bound to change the dynamics when Baldwin finally names his 12-man lineup and lays down his battle plan for the Fiba Asia tournament.
Right now, all the American-New Zealander can do is wait.
"I haven’t got this puzzle figured out … I don’t even know what the picture looks like yet," he said with a chuckle. "The box cover is blank, it doesn’t give me any clues."
Asked how tough it was to have some major issues unresolved this late in Gilas' buildup, Baldwin said: "Challenging, that’s it. Every coaching job is challenging and this one has some unique challenges to it.
"Part of the challenge is settling this roster into some semblance of cohesion. It is a challenge and will continue to be a challenge, I would imagine, right through the start of the (Fiba Asia) games."