Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson has made the cut as part of the 24-man pool of players with a shot to represent the Philippines in international play as a "natural born" player rather than having to be "naturalized," according to Ryan Songailia of Rappler.com (h/t to Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold). Songailia also reported Clarkson arrived in Manila Monday night.
As much attention as Kobe Bryant's potential U.S. Olympic roster candidacy has received, Clarkson being able to play for Gilas Pilipinas as a "natural born" player would be arguably a bigger deal, especially for a basketball mad country like the Philippines. Team's are only allowed one "naturalized" player to represent them in official FIBA tournament play, and the Philippines already famously has that spot earmarked for Andray Blatche.
FIBA has yet to approve Clarkson (whose mother is Filipino) as a "natural born" player, but Gilas Pilipinas naming him to their roster as such indicates their level of confidence that Clarkson's candidacy will be approved, as Rappler reported earlier Monday.
Last season Clarkson and Jeremy Lin made NBA history as the first ever Asian-American starting backcourt, and Clarkson has clearly embraced to the Filipino side of his heritage. Clarkson spent time volunteering in the Philippines in May as part of NBA Cares activities in the country, an event he called "one of the best experiences of his life":
Count your blessing man, I love this place it's so much REAL love here amazing so happy to touch so many people.— Jordan Clarkson (@JClark5on) May 23, 2015
Clarkson has been looking really sharp in clips of his offseason workouts, and it sounds like he is ready to represent his adopted home on the court in international play. Now it is on FIBA to decide whether or not he will be allowed to do so.