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Clarkson still eyeing Gilas dream

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By Julius Manicad

Despite failing to get the green light to compete, Jordan Clarkson will still remain supportive when the national men’s basketball team competes in the 18th Asian Games starting Thursday.

In a social media post, the Cleveland Cavaliers stalwart expressed disappointment over the decision of the National Basketball Association (NBA) that bars him from seeing action in the world’s biggest athletic meet outside the Olympics.

Clarkson’s commitment is beyond question.

Two years ago, he showed up in the country to join Gilas Pilipinas in its training. As if that wasn’t enough, he joined the squad in the Jones Cup in Taiwan to cheer the local stars from the sidelines.

That’s why when news broke out that he has an opportunity to play in the Asian Games, the 6-foot-5 playmaker couldn’t contain his excitement.

In fact, he reportedly already packed his things and was ready to hop into the plane the moment the NBA formally clears him to see action.

But it didn’t happen.

“I am terribly disappointed to say that I have not received the required consent to participate in the upcoming Asian Games with our National Team,” said Clarkson while posting a photo of his unused competition uniform.

“Although I will not be there in person, I will be with my Gilas teammates in heart and spirit.”

NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said they barred Clarkson from competing because the Asian Games is not part of their commitment with the International Basketball Association (FIBA).

He said their agreement with the world-governing body for sports only covers the Olympics, the FIBA World Cup, Continental Cup and associated qualifying tournaments.

Clarkson, instead, was allowed to play in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier in September.

“In accordance with the NBA’s agreement with FIBA, Jordan is welcome to represent the Philippines in the agreed-upon competitions,” said Frank, also the league’s vice president for basketball communications.

Clarkson said the setback doesn’t hamper his desire to don the national jersey.

“Despite this, my desire and ambition to play with my countrymen in the future remains resolute and I am adamant that this dream will come true!”

With Clarkson out, Don Trollano will suit up for the Filipinos.

Gilas Pilipinas team manager attended the general technical meeting to enter Trollano’s name and defend the eligibility of Christian Standhardinger, the Munich-born bruiser who lacks the three-year residency that the Olympic Council of Asia is requiring for competitors born outside Asia.

“The meeting is still ongoing,” said deputy chief of mission Robert Bachmann.

“We’re hoping that everything will go on smoothly.”

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