The possibility of having Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee on the court together for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming FIBA World Cup has sparked interest and intrigue among basketball fans in the Philippines.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and Gilas coach Chot Reyes have expressed their desire to see this unique combination materialize, bringing together two exceptional talents to represent the national team.
In a bold move, PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas is proposing that both Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee be allowed to play together for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
In a recent statement, Vargas proposed that Clarkson should serve as the team’s naturalized player. At the same time, Brownlee, the Barangay Ginebra import, would play as a local player if FIBA grants the request. Vargas is optimistic about the appeal because Brownlee has been playing in the country since 2016 and became a naturalized player earlier this year.
“Si Brownlee pusong atin. Ugaling atin na ‘yan. Nakita n’yo naman (Brownlee is ours at heart. He has embraced our ways. You have seen it for yourselves),” Vargas emphasized, referring to Brownlee’s deep connection with the Filipino basketball community.
During the PBA Board planning session, Vargas was optimistic, stating, “It’s worth a try. Why not? Why does it have to be a choice? But the question is, is it possible?”
Vargas is hopeful that FIBA’s special residency rule could be applied in Brownlee’s case, as he has been playing in the Philippines since the 2016 Governors’ Cup for Barangay Ginebra. Brownlee became a naturalized player earlier this year and represented the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers and the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, where he steered the team’s golden feat.
Vargas emphasized Brownlee’s deep connection with the Philippines, saying, “Brownlee is one of us. He has the heart of a Filipino. You’ve all seen that.” The prospect of having Brownlee and Clarkson on the court together is undoubtedly exciting for Gilas Pilipinas.
However, Gilas coach Chot Reyes acknowledges the tough decision he faces in choosing between Brownlee and Clarkson. Reyes recognizes that both naturalized players bring unique qualities and strengths to the team. While Brownlee has better chemistry with the local players and versatility, Reyes points out that Clarkson’s scoring ability against top-flight defenders sets him apart.
Reyes highlights Clarkson’s scoring prowess in the NBA: “We haven’t seen Justin’s ability to score against top-flight, tall defensive teams and defensive oppositions, which we know Jordan can because he scores 30 or 40 points in the NBA.” At the same time, Reyes acknowledges Clarkson’s comfort with the team’s defensive schemes and his playmaking skills, which could enable him to play as a point guard.
Ultimately, the decision will depend on the team’s strategy and their opponents in the FIBA World Cup. Brownlee and Clarkson have demonstrated their commitment to representing the Philippines, and their inclusion in the national squad would undoubtedly bring unique dimensions and skill sets.
As Gilas Pilipinas prepares for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the potential pairing of Clarkson and Brownlee creates excitement and anticipation among fans. The dynamic duo could significantly boost the team’s chances as they face tough competition in their group, including Italy, the Dominican Republic, and Angola.
The final decision rests with FIBA, and the basketball community eagerly awaits their ruling on this intriguing proposal.