Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson expressed disappointment today that the NBA rejected the Philippine national basketball team’s request for him to compete at the this week’s Asian Games in Jakarta.
Clarkson posted a message on his Facebook account today which reads: “I am terribly disappointed to say that I have not received the required consent to participate in the upcoming Asian Games with our [n]ational [t]eam. Although I will not be there in person, I will be with my Gilas teammates in heart and spirit.”
The NBA player holds both American and Philippine citizenship. His grandmother, Marcelina Tullao, is from Pampanga.
He added that his “desire and ambition” to play for the Philippines’ basketball team “remains resolute” and that he is “adamant” that his dream will come true.
The athlete then ended his message with “Puso!”– the Philippine basketball team’s favorite war cry meaning “heart.”
Clarkson’s post also showed several blue and white jerseys, presumably his jerseys for the Philippine basketball team, wrapped in plastic and kept in a box.
Yesterday, NBA’s spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement that the NBA’s agreement with the International Basketball Federation (more popularly known as the FIBA or Fédération internationale de basket-ball) said that NBA players can compete at the Olympics, FIBA Basketball World Cup, Continental Cup competitions, and associated qualifying tournaments.
The statement read: “Because the Asian Games are not one of those competitions, NBA players are unable to participate. In accordance with the NBA’s agreement with FIBA, Jordan is welcome to represent the Philippines in the agreed-upon competitions.”
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) August 12, 2018
For his part, the national basketball team’s coach Yeng Guiao said that while he was disappointed by the NBA’s decision, the team is moving forward even without Clarkson.
He told ABS-CBN: “Of course I’m disappointed. We were kind of expecting it already, but you don’t want that to become a distraction now. So we will just move on.”
The basketball team, which flew yesterday to Jakarta, is planning to get forward Don Trallano to replace Clarkson in the team.
Trollano was told to be on standby while waiting for the decision of the Asian Games’ organizers if he is allowed to play in the tournament.
The Philippines planned to sit out the Asian Games after a number of its players were suspended following the controversial “basketbrawl” with the Australian national team. There was a last minute change up, however, when it was announced earlier this month that the Philippines will be sending a team to Jakarta.
Meanwhile, Clarkson’s fans are hopeful that he will suit up for the Philippine team in the future. Wrote his fan Reggie Saavedra: “Jordan we [F]ilipinos will still wait for the time you play for [G]ilas. I hope that time will come very soon. We want you in [G]ilas!!!!”
Gilas is another name for the Philippine national basketball team.
Another fan called Clarkson an “inspiration.”
Locklear Ford told Clarkson that Filipinos are “very sad” with the NBA’s decision.
Wrote Paul Barba: “That’s okay, idol. Time will come when you can finally play, just keep your jersey, you can use that the FIBA’s [tournament].”
How do you think the Philippines will do at the Asian Games? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to @CoconutsManila.