Head coach Tab Baldwin said the Fil-Am guard could not participate in live scrimmages due to the upcoming free agency in the NBA, but by simply showing up is already a huge support for the team. “Whenever Jordan shows up it helps our morale because we know his passion is, his desire to play for the Philippines,” he said. “It makes us feel good. He’s happy doing it.”
Philippine men’s national basketball team head coach Tab Baldwin on Saturday took a swipe at Fiba for not giving Jordan Clarkson the clearance he needed to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic qualifying tournament in July. Clarkson has been very vocal in expressing his willingness to suit up for the national team and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has pushed for the Los Angeles Lakers guard’s inclusion in the Gilas lineup since the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship.
However, eligibility issues posed by Fiba have prevented the Fil-American Clarkson, whose mother Anette hails from Pampanga, from wearing the country’s colors in the international stage. “It’s always great to have Jordan around. He’s a very engaging guy. I just think he’s a great young kid. I think it’s a real shame that he isn’t playing for the Philippines,” Baldwin told reporters during the unveiling of Gilas’ newest uniforms Saturday at Kerry Sports at Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort.
Because of his pending free agency, Clarkson will not play with the Philippines national team in Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila. Clarkson’s participation in the Las Vegas Summer League also remains up in the air.
That means he should be well-equipped to deal with some venomous crowds during this summer’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Manila from July 4 to 10. “We will welcome him to Manila and I hope the kababayans welcome him in a way that only the Filipino fans can welcome an opposing player, and a player who will be in that situation when we play them (will be) very much disliked in this country,” Philippine national team coach Tab Baldwin told Rappler.com, a news website based in the Philippines.
“The day after we can love Tony for the all the wonderful things that he is and has given to the game of basketball and he represents. But on that day he could possibly be public enemy no. 1,” said Baldwin, whose team will compete with France, Canada, Turkey, Senegal, and New Zealand in Group B.