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NBA dashes Philippines' Jordan dream at Asiad

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Manila (AFP)

A Philippines bid to have Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Jordan Clarkson play for their Asian Games team has been dashed after the National Basketball Association refused to release him.

Clarkson, who appeared off the bench in two 2018 NBA finals games against repeat champions Golden State Warriors, was included by the basketball-crazy Asian nation in their squad last week as they tried to get his paperwork done on time.

However the Philippine federation (SBP) said Monday it has been informed that the NBA would not release Clarkson for the Asiad.

"Of course, very disappointed," SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) president Al Panlilio told AFP in a text message when asked to comment on the NBA decision.

"But knowing our team under coach Yeng (Guiao), we will fight and play hard. We have always been resilient," Panlilio added.

Clarkson, 26, had not previously played for the Philippines, but has in the past expressed an interest in playing for the country of his maternal grandmother.

SBP executive director Renauld Barrios told AFP the Asian Games was not included in the NBA's agreement with world governing body FIBA that allows NBA players to take part in the Olympics, the FIBA World Cup and continental cup competitions.

A 2014 second-round draftee of the Washington Wizards, Clarkson has an NBA career average of 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists, most of them during a spell at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Philippines had originally withdrawn from the Asiad men's basketball tournament after seeing 10 of their first-team players and two coaches hit with suspensions and fines after an on-court brawl with Australia at a World Cup qualifier last month.

However the federation hastily assembled a team from scratch, naming Clarkson in the 12-man roster last week, after being prevailed upon by a senior aide to president Rodrigo Duterte to change their decision.

Winners of four Asiad basketball golds, but none after 1962, the Philippines are in the tough Group D with one of the gold medal favourites, China. Their opening games is against Kazakhstan on August 16.

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