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Is Jordan in or out of PH Asiad team?

By Waylon Galvez

The 12th man in the Asian Games-bound Philippine men’s basketball team remains up in the air as Samah­ang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still awaiting confirmation whether NBA star Jordan Clarkson be allowed to reinforce the team or not.

Coach Yeng Guiao is hoping Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson will be the Philippine team’s 12th man for the Asian Games. (File photo)

Coach Yeng Guiao is hoping Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson will be the Philippine team’s 12th man for the Asian Games. (File photo)

PH head coach Yeng Guiao was supposed to name Thursday night on who between amateur standout Ricci Rivero and TNT KaTropa’s Don Trollano will earn the last ticket to the Asiad.

But SBP advised Guaio to defer his announcement pending the ongo­ing negotiations to have the Cleve­land Cavaliers star reinforce in the team.

“We’ll hold that decision on who’s going to be the 12th player,” said Guiao in a phone interview. “Talks are still ongoing for Jordan Clarkson to play for the national team.”

If the Fil-Am is amenable to play for the PH team, then Guiao will gladly welcome the pesky guard.

If not, he’ll pick between Rivero and Trollano by Saturday.

SBP president Al Panlilio said three important things should align for Clarkson to play for the national team, first is that he needs to be eli­gible for the Asian Games under the rules of the Olympic Council of Asia, second is the SBP and his camp agree to a deal, and third is for Clarkson to get clearance from the NBA.

“I’m not sure if we can say there’s a big chance but we at the SBP is try­ing to make it happen. Stars need to align,” said Panlilio, referring to the three important things the SBP hopes to happen.

While the thought of having an NBA player on the roster is exciting, Guiao said basketball fans should manage their expectations since the issue is not totally in the hands of the Philippines.

“We should manage the expecta­tions. We don’t want to be so excited then in the end… he’s not eligible to play. We’ll just get disappointed. We’ll just wait, and if he’s available, that’s great for the national team,” said Guiao.

The veteran PBA coach of NLEX already picked 11 players on his Asian Games rosters, including Rain or Shine mainstays Gabe Norwood, Chris Tiu, Beau Belga, Raymond Al­mazan, Maverick Avanmisi and for­mer two-time PBA MVP James Yap.

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