You may have missed this, but over the weekend the Philippines national basketball team beat Kazakhstan 93-75, and with the win grabbed Asia’s final slot in the FIBA World Championships this summer in July.
The next step for the team: Getting Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson on the roster in China this summer. The Agence France-Presse explains the problem well:
Filipino-American Clarkson represented the Philippines at last year’s Asian Games, but the World Cup operates under FIBA rules which could classify him as “naturalised” as he obtained his Filipino passport after the age of 16.
FIBA also restricts each team to one “naturalised” player, meaning the Philippines would have to choose between the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard and Blatche, who acquired Filipino nationality by naturalisation.
The Philippine basketball federation’s argument is that Clarkson is a citizen, he just didn’t get his passport and papers until he was older. We’ll see if FIBA buys it.
Clarkson put up huge numbers in leading the Philippines to a fifth-place finish in the Asian Games, averaging 26 points a game. Obviously, they are a much better team with him in China. If they can get him approved.