Jordan Clarkson Joining Gilas Pilipinas

The Filipino-American Lakers guard wore number 6 as he participated in light drills with the Gilas Pilipinas squad for the first time. Jordan Clarkson attended Gilas Pilipinas practice on Wednesday night, leaving fans excited about the prospect of seeing him playing for the flag at the FIBA Asia Championship in September. He is part of the 24-man pool submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), but it remains to be seen whether he can represent the country as matters of his eligibility are still being ironed out. Gilas coach Tab Baldwin warned against pinning too much hope on Clarkson wearing the country's colors soon, as they still have to wait for FIBA to process hiss documents.

"I think the most important thing is not to get carried away with right now, with whether Jordan's gonna play or not. We don't know," he told reporters after practice wrapped up in Meralco Gym, Pasig City. Nonetheless, Baldwin said that his mere presence and interest to join the national team is already huge for Gilas. "It was great to see him. I'm like every Gilas fan when I see a player of his caliber walk in the gym, it's exciting," he said about the rising NBA star. "There's nobody with a gun to Jordan's head - he wants to play for the Philippines. That's about an exciting announcement as there could be," the coach added. Wearing a white Pilipinas uniform with jersey number six and his name at the back, Clarkson did some light shooting as Gilas members executed defensive drills. He also mingled with the team, chatting with veterans Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, and assistant coach Alex Compton.J ordan Clarkson reassured his commitment to the Philippine national men’s basketball team despite pronouncements from his father that he doesn’t recommend his son to play for Gilas Pilipinas due to his duties with the Los Angeles Lakers. The younger Clarkson made the statement after his dad, Mike, said publicly that a Gilas Pilipinas stint for the Lakers guard is “not logical.” “My father, Mike, has always looked out for my welfare and is only genuinely concerned for my career, my future and my wellbeing – his thoughts are that of a very loving dad,” Clarkson said in a statement passed on to the Philippine media on Thursday. “I just called him and we agreed we will talk about my playing for Gilas when I get back. Nothing is cast in stone. But I want to assure my Filipino brothers and sisters that, if given the chance and everything can be worked out, I sincerely wish to play for Gilas and contribute to the total team effort for flag and country. “This is the reason why I am observing and familiarizing myself with the team while here and will even follow them in Taipei for the Jones Cup so I can see them compete close up and benefit from the learning from the said experience. Laban Pilipinas! Puso!” Mike Clarkson told Philippine Star on Thursday that Jordan will skip playing for the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Championship this year due to “bad timing,” with the Gilas Pilipinas schedule in conflict with the Lakers’ preparation for the upcoming NBA season. Jordan, whose mother, Annette Davis, hails from Pampanga, arrived in the Philippines last Monday for his endorsement deal with Smart Communications, a sponsor of Gilas Pilipinas. He even participated in the team’s practice on Wednesday night. But part of his trip’s objective is to submit the necessary requirements by FIBA for him to be eligible for Gilas Pilipinas. The All-NBA Rookie Team member is included in the 24-man roster submitted by Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia tournament this September where a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics is at stake.
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