Jordan Clarkson was ultimately unable to participate in FIBA Asia with the Filipino National Team last summer when the slate of games conflicted with the start of the Los Angeles Lakers' training camp, but the young guard hasn't let that get in the way of his continued involvement in his mother's homeland.
Clarkson flew into the Philippines on Thursday, according to Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star, and the guard reportedly could take part in several "major basketball events" taking place in the country over the next several days. Henson suggested that Clarkson could be in the country to participate in Nike's "unveiling of the new Gilas uniforms to be used during the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament," and it looks like that was the case.
The Lakers' guard confirmed Henson's theory when he shared a photo of himself with a banner promoting a Nike-sponsored visit to Manila on his Snapchat account Friday night:
(Pictures of the new jerseys from the event can be seen here)
But just because Clarkson was in the country in part as a brand ambassador for Nike hasn't stopped him from attempting to connect with his would be national teammates during his trip:
.@JClark5on says he's practicing with Gilas, will be here in Manila til Monday. pic.twitter.com/nfu4zhf8Ax— Mark Giongco (@MGiongcoINQ) May 28, 2016
Great practicing and working out with Gilas today good to see all my brothers wish the best in the qualifier. Laban Pilipinas!— Jordan Clarkson (@JClark5on) May 28, 2016
However, he will be unable to join them in their Olympic qualifying tournament, according to Henson:
The Gilas team will practice at the Kerry Sports Gym right after the unveiling tomorrow afternoon so if Clarkson attends the media event, he could stay for the workout and may even join the drills. Clarkson, however, will not be able to play for Gilas at the FIBA qualifier. His name was excluded from the pool of 24 submitted by the SBP to FIBA for the qualifier. Under FIBA rules, the final roster of 12 may come only from the pool of 24.
Being ineligible to help his team qualify for Rio is unfortunate, because Clarkson seems to genuinely want to represent his adopted country in international play.
"They just show so much love to the sport, and I just do my best to make them proud," Clarkson said in a radio appearance this week, and while he won't get to do so in the Philippines' national colors, his community appearances around the country are likely to at least approximate the effect.
Clarkson visits 10 yr old Jordan Salandanan at SM Blue condo, now playing video game with the 6th grade Ateneo fan pic.twitter.com/XjqAC62r1N— Quinito Henson (@TheDeanQuinito) May 28, 2016
Jordan Clarkson practices with Ateneo Small Basketeers team at Moro Lorenzo happening now pic.twitter.com/SsGh9ITiTc— Quinito Henson (@TheDeanQuinito) May 28, 2016
As just the second Filipino American to appear in the NBA, Clarkson's time spent in the Philippines is bigger than basketball for the hoops-mad country. The guard seems to have embraced that with his numerous trips there, and it's fun to watch the mutual love affair between player and nation.
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