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SBP won’t pursue Clarkson

Jordan Clarkson (AP)

Jordan Clarkson (AP)

For now, the possibility of Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) here has been shelved by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

No less than SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan revealed that decision.

“When I was in Geneva (FIBA headquarters) last March, we talked about Jordan Clarkson again and I was told to choose between him and Andray Blatche,” said the business mogul yesterday during the OQT press conference at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.

“The decision is to get Blatche back. We’re only talking about the FIBA OQT. Mas familiar si Andray sa system ni (coach) Tab (Baldwin) and (Gilas Pilipinas) players so given the short preparation time, I think the safer choice is Blatche,” Pangilinan added.

The local basketball federation initially tried to get the services of the 6-foot-5 Clarkson to be part of Gilas Pilipinas in last year’s FIBA-Asia Championship held in Changsha, China.

At that time, however, there were so many limitations, including clearance from FIBA to allow him to play as a local player of the country and not as a naturalized since he holds dual citizenship, as well as from his mother team in the NBA, which is the Lakers.

The situation remains the same with Clarkson as FIBA has yet to decided on his claims of being a Filipino-American, and with the Lakers still in action in the NBA, the SBP has decided not to pursue him for the OQT.

“The arrangement with Jordan is complicated,” said Pangilinan. “We have to go through everything. So we’re leaning towards Blatche, given the time (preparation) for the OQT.”