Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson cannot play for the Philippines as a local?

Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson cannot play for the Philippines as a local?

The Philippine basketball national team, or also known as Gilas Pilipinas, has a big problem with regards to one of their players, Jordan Clarkson, who is apparently being pegged as a non-Filipino for his current status in international basketball.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, or MVP, the president of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) basketball governing body in the Philippines, admitted that there are “complications” with regards to the Philippine team tapping the Los Angeles Lakers guard.

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Pangilinan said, via, that FIBA is having debates with regards to Clarkson’s status and that other officials have suggested to him that the Philippines just tap naturalized player Andray Blatche, formerly of the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards in the NBA but is now playing for a squad in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

“The decision is Blatche,” Pangilinan said in the article citing the naturalized Filipino’s familiarity with Philippine head coach Tab Baldwin’s system is a plus compared to Clarkson. “We are given the short preparation time. I think the safer choice is Blatche.”

National teams in FIBA competitions are allowed to have one naturalized player active in a roster in a FIBA tournament. Blatche has played for the Philippines in recent tournaments as the country’s naturalized player.

Jordan Clarkson is one of the best players for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015-2016 season.

Back in 2015, the SBP has declared that Clarkson has a Filipino passport and that the Lakers guard acquired it before he was 16 years old—the rule for FIBA to be considered a local player. Clarkson though has not been cleared to play for the Philippines as a local.

However, with the rumors that the Philippines is being asked to choose between Blatche and Clarkson, it appears that FIBA has already ruled that Jordan Clarkson can only play for the Philippines if he is naturalized.

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons