After a tumultuous two days, the National Basketbal Association came out with a verdict Sunday morning (Philippine time). They will not clear Jordan Clarkson to join Gilas Pilipinas for the 2018 Asian Games.
For years, Filipinos have been clamoring to see the 6-foot-5 Filipino-American to play for the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team. And the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas came close this time around.
After years of having his eligibility questioned, the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee gave their go-signal Friday evening to let Clarkson play. The Cleveland Cavaliers also allowed their player to join.
“We tried our very best,” said Philippine Olympic Committee secretary-general Pato Gregorio. “Your sports leaders worked round the clock, so many sleepless nights.”
However, the NBA barred Clarkson from playing in the continental meet.
“We were one clearance away from a dear friend of the Filipino people, the NBA.”
The NBA cited that the Asiad is not sanctioned by the International Basketball Federation, making it not part of the agreement between them and the Players Union of the league.
“This is a sad day for Philippine basketball and for the National Team playing in the Asian Games,” chef de mission Richard Gomez added in a statement.
On the other hand, Houston Rockets player Zhou Qi was allowed by the league to play for China.
“If this is true, I feel that the NBA has been inconsistent with their ruling and this one greatly affected our chances against China and Kazakhstan,” Gomez added.
Visibly at odds with the ruling, both Gregorio and Gomez both expressed their disdain for the American league.
“From now on, I will stop watching the NBA,” Gomez declared.
“You broke the hearts of 100 million Filipinos,” added Gregorio.
“We will never forget this.”