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2023 FIBA World Cup

Having Jordan Clarkson a possibility for Gilas in FIBA WC

Having a Filipino NBA player don the national colors has always been a dream for every basketball fan here in the Philippines.

Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson has been the country’s closest bet with his grandmother hailing from Bacolor, Pampanga. However, he failed to secure a Philippine passport before turning 16 which hinders him from playing as a local for the national team in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments.

Despite being ineligible, SBP executive director Sonny Barios bared on Tuesday that the Utah Jazz guard is still among the choices to be the naturalized player of Gilas for the upcoming 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup which will be co-hosted by the country alongside Japan and Indonesia.

“That’s also on the table. ‘Yung kay Jordan Clarkson is on the table,” said Barrios on the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

“Kasama ‘yan sa pinag-uusapan sa preparation for the most competitive team that we can have.”

Clarkson was able to represent the country in the 2018 Asian Games since the tournament was not sanctioned by FIBA.

Barrios reiterated that Chot Reyes will still be leading the search for the possible options of naturalized players for the Gilas program.

“Having a naturalized player is also on the table and is also on the radar ni coach Chot ⁠— ‘yung issue ng naturalized player, kung sino, at anong klase,” he shared.

In previous years, NBA veteran Andray Blatche saw action for the Philippines in both the 2014 and 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cups. Currently, the national team has Ange Kouame and Christian Standhardinger as the two big men that can possibly suit up as naturalized players for Gilas in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments.

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Other candidates in the past include PBA imports such as Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra and Chris McCullough of San Miguel.

Despite being open to exploring other options, Barrios bared that looking for a big remains to be a priority for Gilas.

Ultimately, SBP will be evaluating each of the candidates’ fit alongside the local players of the Nationals in a bid to field the best team possible for the tournament.

“We are not looking for point guards. ‘Yung process of elimination, nandoon tayo sa the bigger the better siguro unless meron tayong isang option na hindi kalakihan but the talent, skill is what the team needs,” he offered.

“Again, you range that against the materials that you’ve got on the local side. Ganyan naman ang pag-iisip ng team composition eh. So kung ano ‘yung saswak o tutumpak ‘dun sa materyales mo sa local that will be mutually complementary to the naturalized guy.”

Written By

Student. Writer. Manager. Blue Eagle

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