THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) admitted getting Jordan Clarkson to play for the Asian Games was a long shot.
However, the POC was willing to take that chance in order to form the strongest team possible for the quadrennial meet.
Of course, that is water under the bridge now after the decision made by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) that it will no longer be sending a men’s basketball team that could possibly include Clarkson for the Asian Games next month.
When asked, however, about Clarkson’s eligibility, Vargas said there was little chance to get the Cleveland Cavaliers cager to play for the Philippines in the Asian Games.
“Thirty percent chance that he could have probably made it or even less,” said Vargas during a phone patch interview with reporters at the PBA office on Friday. “But there is a chance.”
“We were willing to take that chance,” Vargas said.
Prior to the pullout, Clarkson had to hurdle an Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) ruling about residency as it states that an athlete must reside in the country for at least three years in order to be eligible to play in the Asian Games. It was the same rule that ruled naturalized player Andray Blatche disqualified for playing for the Philippines in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.
Admittedly though, Vargas said Clarkson is technically ineligible to play in the Asian Games, but he believes the POC and SBP can put together a good argument that could allow Clarkson to play for the Philippines in the Asian Games.
The POC president said Clarkson is a bearer of a Philippine passport and his work as an NBA player has prevented him from residing in the country to meet the residency requirements of OCA.
“’Yung nanay niya Pilipino, tapos may passport siya. While he was not able to come to the country for two to three years, he has visited the country two or three times. His work has not allowed him to stay here for two to three consecutive years. So there was a position of argument that we can put together,” said Vargas.
Vargas said Clarkson has been looking forward to representing the Philippines in future international competitions.
“If you take a look at Jordan, he is proud about his roots. He is very proud. Even if you talk to him, he is very proud about his roots. That’s why there is a 20 to 30 percent chance. But it is also a long shot. But we still wanted to go through with it.
“Technically, hindi talaga puwede pero you have to take a look at the context of what we are trying to do,” said Vargas.