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SBP thanks NBA

 

By WAYLON GALVEZ

 

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio personally thanked NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum for allowing Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson to play for the national team in the recently-concluded Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia.

“Our wish of having Jordan Clarkson play for the Philippine Team has become a reality in the Asian Games,” said Panlilio in a statement.
Panlilio, however, has one more request – allow the charismatic NBA guard to play for the Philippines in future tournaments.

The 6-foot-5 Clarkson dazzled Asian Games fans with his vast repertoire of moves that helped the hastily-formed Philippine team finish fifth.
Though he missed the country’s opening game against Kazakhstan, Clarkson and the Nationals almost toppled the mighty Chinese squad in group elims.

The Nationals also gave the Koreans a huge scare before fading cruelly in the end during their quarterfinal showdown.

Clarkson averaged 26 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in four times he played for the Philippines.

He also made heads turn during the glitzy opening ceremony when he carried the PH flag – a feat, he said, he will cherish forever.

Panlilio, in his meeting with Tatum in the US, also appealed to the NBA to allow Clarkson compete for the Philippines in future international competitions, particularly during the league’s off-season.

The country is expected to advance in next year’s FIBA World Cup in China, and the SBP is hoping the NBA will once again allow Clarkson to play for the national team.

“SBP’s desire is to have him play in future competitions during the NBA break. With a stronger communication line and relationship with Mark Tatum and the NBA, I am confident that it can happen again,” said Panlilio.

“The goal of SBP is to come up with the best possible Philippine team, have a chance to win every tournament and ultimately make over 100 million Filipinos happy,” added Panlilio.

From New York, Panlilio, according to his newly-appointed Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Ryan Gregorio, will travel to Las Vegas to join fellow PBA Board of Governors for their annual meeting.

The national team, under coach Yeng Guiao, is set to see action in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, against Iran in Tehran on September 13 and opposite Qatar on September 17 at the Smart Araneta Colliseum.

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