Clarkson won’t suit up for Gilas in Rio qualifier
THE president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, eminent businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan has told The Standard that outstanding Los Angeles Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson will not suit up for the Gilas Philippine National Team in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of ASia Arena in August.
Pangilinan told us that he was gladly spending over 200 million on hosting the major international event because he loves our country so much and “wants to entertain our people and considers it public service. So lets proceed with the hosting and lets try our best.”
Asked whether our best would be good enough to win an Olympic berth with Clarkson, Pangilinan said “I think we have to stay positive and give all our support to the team even without Clarkson. I am optimistic they have a good chance of winning so lets get on with it.”
He said he doesnt know what kind of condition naturalized American NBA player Andray Blatche is in because he hasn’t seen him for some time but clearly the advise from Fiba during a meeting in Geneva was that “they would like to see a Blatche of Spain rather than the Blatche of China” referring to his being overweight in the Olympic qualifying tournament in China and “that says a lot.”
Pangilinan said a well-conditioned Blatche would be a major boost to the Philippine team and that team manager Butch Antonio “might have to go to the US just to see his physical condition and lay out the appropriate remedies including the possibility of hiring a physical conditioning coach between the time he arrives which I believe is May 1 and the first playing date.”
The SBP president noted that Blatche’s statistics in the Chinese league were “very good which is what we think but obviously its subject to verification.”
Pangilinan said he was “grateful to the PBA for the support they have extended so far to this particular tournament. Coach Tab Baldwin still has to decide on the kind of slate. Maybe he’ll decide on the final 14 or 16 before the final 12.”
Together with a well-conditioned Blatche, Pangilinan believes we have a chance to qualify for the Olympics in Rio “if we send our best players.”
He noted that the PBA players in the national pool have shown that they want to give it their best shot and that will help.