LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles Lakers Guard Jordan Clarkson will not play for the Philippines National Team this month in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
The Philippine Basketball Association announced Tuesday, September 8, that the national team—Gilas Pilipinas—was unable to get Clarkson approved by the deadline for the Asia championship, which begins in two weeks.
“We did all that we could to have Jordan Clarkson join Gilas for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship but we are saddened to report that we are not able to beat the deadline to secure the necessary clearances on time,” the PBA said in the statement.
“Although we pushed the boundaries whenever possible, this process cannot be rushed if it were to be done properly. But we respectfully adhere to the schedules set by the Los Angeles Lakers whom SBP officials Ricky Vargas and Pato Gregorio met with to try to exhaust all possible options,” the PBA said.
Clarkson, whose mother is from the Philippines, made two different trips to the eastern country this off-season. The 23-year-old spent time with family, ran basketball clinics for local kids and even practiced with Gilas Pilipinas during their preparation for the FIBA tournament.
The second-year Lakers guard has openly discussed within the last month a sincere interest in playing for the national team, but Clarkson will have to wait at least another year in order for that to happen.
“The interest and passion of Jordan Clarkson himself with the full support of his family, to don the Gilas jersey serves as a reason for SBP to be hopeful,” the PBA said in the statement. “Though the doors on the 2015 FIBA Asia meet have been closed, the future of the national team program is encouraging with Clarkson’s desire to represent flag and country.”
The 12-man Philippine roster for FIBA Asia has plenty of talent without Clarkson, including former NBA big-man, Andray Blatche, who spent nine seasons with the Washington Wizards and the Brooklyn Nets.
The winner of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, while the next three finishers will have a chance to qualify as well in a later tournament.
A championship for the Philippines men’s basketball team would be the first automatic qualification to the Olympics for the country since 1972.