FIBA Rumors: NBA Star Wants To Play At 2019 FIBA World Cup In China
Gilas Pilipinas, the national team of the Philippines, got the job done when they took down Qatar and Kazakhstan in the FIBA Asia World Cup last week. With the twin victories, the Philippines booked a seat in the 2019 World Cup in China slated to be held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15.
Gilas Pilipinas first took down Qatar 84-46 at the Al Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall and then followed it up with a big 93-75 victory over Kazakhstan at the Veldrome Saryarka. Former NBA player Andray Blatche played a big role in the twin wins, blending in nicely with the Filipino players of head coach Yeng Guiao, Manila Bulletin Sports said.
The stakes will, however, be higher come to the 2019 World Cup in China. Blatche is expected to lead the charge anew although having another Filipino-American in the fray could be a big boost to the Philippines' chances. And one person that has aired his desire to play for the country is Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Clarkson, whose mother is from Angeles, Pampanga, last played for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia. If his Instagram post is any indication, it looks like the 26-year-old cager is ready to suit up once more.
But before all that can happen, a tweak in the FIBA ruling must be made. Only one naturalized player is allowed per team and Clarkson's stint will depend if the basketball body will reverse its earlier rule.
There is no doubt what Clarkson brings to the Philippines. But with height and mobility a big problem, the only thing safe for now is that Blatche will fill up that naturalized center slot.
The following months should be interesting for the Philippines. According to Samahang Basketbolista ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio via Manila Bulletin Sports, they are working on the issue. For now, all he can say is that they are exhausting all efforts to have Clarkson suit up for the Philippines.
It may be wishful thinking for Gilas Pilipinas although not impossible. They were able to pull off some strings to bring Clarkson to the Asian Games so doing the same for the FIBA World Cup is plausible. It will be tedious next couple of months for the Philippines with most hoping to see a Blatche-Clarkson tandem leading the charge against Asian powerhouse teams that advanced.