“See you all very soon.”
These words seem mundane at best but it means so much more for millions of Filipinos coming from Jordan Clarkson, after he was officially granted permission by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to play for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games.
Hours after the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) bared that the prolific combo guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been cleared to join the Yeng Guiao-led team, the NBA’s Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum confirmed the news to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chief Al Panlilio.
Jordan Clarkson has officially been cleared by the NBA to join the Asian Games. Thank you, NBA! Thank you Mark Tatum! Thank you POC! Laban Pilipinas! Puso!
— Al Panlilio (@APan9) August 15, 2018
The league also officially retracted its earlier statement about only allowing players for FIBA-sanctioned events, after being notified by dozens of netizens that NBA players Zhou Qi and Ding Yanyuhang are included in China’s line-up for the games in Jakarta and Palembang.
“Due to a lack of clear communication of that agreement between the NBA and the Chinese and Philippines Basketball Federations, and after further discussions with both Federations, the NBA has agreed to provide this one-time exception,” the league’s official statement read.
Now that he finally has the green light from his employer, Clarkson thanked the country’s sports governing bodies and millions of fans for their collective efforts in making his dream a reality.
“PUSO. My heart is full of gratitude for everyone who helped make this happen,” the 26-year-old wrote in a short but sweet Facebook post. “See you all very soon”.
After rebooking his flights multiple times throughout this fiasco, Clarkson will finally get to join his teammates in Jakarta on Thursday, August 16, but won’t make it to tip-off in their opening day game against Kazakhstan.
Panlilio also made it clear that Clarkson’s late inclusion means that he will have to deal with jetlag and lack of practice time with the team, making it impossible for him to suit up for the first game.
Clarkson’s services, however, will be available in the Philippines’ second game against perennial rivals China on the August 21.
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