The Philippines men's basketball team's attempt to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 1972 took a big hit Tuesday as Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson was not included in the 12-man roster for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
It was revealed on PBA.Inquirer.net that Gilas Pilipinas will bring the following players to China starting Sept. 23:
|Philippines 2015 FIBA Asia Championships Roster|
|Calvin Abueva||F||Alaska Aces|
|Andray Blatche||C||Xinjiang Flying Tigers|
|Jayson Castro||G||Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters|
|Ranidel de Ocampo||F||Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters|
|Matthew Ganuelas-Rosser||F||Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters|
|Donaldo Hontiveros||G||Alaska Aces|
|J.C. Intal||F||Barako Bull Energy|
|Gabe Norwood||G||Rain or Shine Elasto Painters|
|Marc Pingris||F||Star Hotshots|
|Terrence Romeo||G||GlobalPort Batang Pier|
|Asi Taulava||C||Air21 Express|
|Sonny Thoss||C||Alaska Aces|
Gilas had hoped to receive a major boost by adding Clarkson to the roster, but it ultimately didn't come to fruition due largely to a conflict with Lakers training camp.
According to CBSLA.com, Lakers public relations vice president John Black recently laid out the situation Clarkson faced:
Per the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the Players Association, as long as national team play does not interfere with team requirements and there are no injury issues, it is up to the players whether or not to play. Our players must be in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, so as long as he would be back by then, we would have no objection to Jordan playing in the event up until that date.
Had Clarkson played for the Philippines, he likely would have been forced to leave in the middle of the tournament, which would have put Gilas in a very difficult spot.
The Philippines will have no current NBA players on the FIBA Asia Championship roster, although big man Andray Blatche spent nine NBA seasons with the Washington Wizards and the Brooklyn Nets.
Gilas also boasts a roster that features many of the same players as the one that finished second to Iran in the 2015 William Jones Cup.
The winner of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, while the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers will have a chance to qualify as well.
Gilas finished second at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, and even though being without Clarkson certainly hinders their prospects, they have an experienced and talented enough team to be a true threat.
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