Filipino-American NBA star Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers remains hopeful that he will suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
However, Clarkson admitted that he is not yet sure whether he will play for the Philippines in the upcoming international basketball tournament that will run from August 31 until September 15.
“I don’t know yet. Stay tuned, I hope to and I hope it happens,” Clarkson told reporters following Cavaliers’ 132-108 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Meanwhile, Clarkson reiterated his support for the Philippine national men’s basketball team. He also advised them to be prepared in the World Cup in order to ensure their victory.
“Let’s just be ready. We’re going in there trying to win and do a good job. I know a few of teammates will be playing in the World Cup as well, so hopefully we get some wins over them and do what we gotta do,” Clarkson said.
The 26-year old basketball player previously represented the Philippines during the 2018 Asian Games held from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Per the rules of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Clarkson can only play for the Philippines in the World Cup as a naturalized player since he obtained his Filipino passport after reaching the age of 16 years old.
FIBA only allows each team to have one naturalized player, meaning that the Philippines will have to choose between Clarkson and Andray Blatche, their known naturalized player.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has already declared that they ‘will do everything’ to have Clarkson play for the Philippines in the upcoming World Cup as a local player.
In the first stage of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Philippines, ranked 31 in the FIBA World Rankings, will face Angola, ranked 39; Italy, ranked 13; and Serbia, ranked 4th in the world rankings.