By Julius Manicad
A decision rendered in 2014 serves as a precedent that might hurt Jordan Clarkson’s chances of seeing action in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta next week.
A veteran sport official yesterday said he will not be surprised if the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) decided on Clarkson’s case based on its ruling on the eligibility status of Andray Blatche in the Incheon Asian Games in 2014.
Blatche, the country’s naturalized player, was barred from seeing action despite having a Philippine passport.
In a decision weeks before the Asian Games, OCA stressed that he is not born in the country so he has to meet the residency requirement of minimum of three years.
He was scratched out of the roster, prompting the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to field another naturalized player in Marcus Douthit en route to a seventh-place finish.
It’s the same case with Clarkson, who was born in Florida but has yet to reside in the country for the past three years due to the nature of his job as a professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the National Basketball Association.
Although the SBP claims that he has a Philippine passport, he still has to meet the residency requirement before being issued the green light to play.
The source said he would not be surprised if the OCA turns down his inclusion.
“It already happened before. There’s already a precedent. So I’m sure OCA will take that into consideration,” said the source, who was part of the group that made an appeal for Blatche to play in 2014.
“In my long years with OCA, they put a lot of weight on previous rulings and precedents.
Since they turned down Blatche before, I think approving Clarkson will be a long shot.”
OCA frowns on having non-Asian athletes compete in the Asian Games.
In the Doha Asian Games in 2006, wealthy gulf countries recruited an army of African athletes to compete as locals, most of them in athletics.
To put an end to this practice, OCA crafted tighter rules and requirements on eligibility and included the three-year residency rule before athletes born outside Asia can compete as local players.
“That’s the wisdom of this rule,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Although the odds, and precedents, are stacked against him, I still hope that he would be allowed to compete because having him in the roster will give pride and joy to our countrymen.”