NBA mainstay Jordan Clarkson — not Justin Brownlee — will play for the Philippines as its naturalized player in the 2023 FIBA World Cup next month.
Brownlee, however, will play for the country in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.
The twin announcement was made by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), headed by Al Panlilio, to sportswriters with still more than four weeks before the world’s biggest basketball competition is held in Manila on Aug. 25-Sept. 10.
Clarkson, the 31-year-old Filipino-American who plays for the Utah Jazz in the NBA, is reportedly joining the Chot Reyes-mentored Gilas Pilipinas during a pocket tournament in Heyuan, China on Aug. 6.
The entry of the 6-5 shooting guard, whose mother traces her roots from Bacolor, Pampanga, is expected to boost the Filipinos’ chances in the World Cup where they will be pitted against Dominican Republic on Aug. 25, Angola on Aug. 27 and Italy on Aug. 29 in the group stage.
Clarkson, who earned NBA “Sixth Man of the Year” award in 2021 while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaged 20.8 points, 4,8 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 61 games last season.
Clarkson, who signed a contract extension with the Jazz only last July 7, played two games for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA qualifiers where he averaged 25,0 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds.
So far, Clarkson and NBA prospect Kai Sotto are the only players who have not joined the team’s practices.
The FIlipinos will leave for China on Aug. 1.
With Clarkson joining the team, Brownlee will now be added to the line-up seeing action in the Asian Games on Sept. 28-Oct. 8 in Hangzhou, China.
The 35-year-old Brownlee, who plays for Barangay Ginebra in the PBA, will lead the Filipinos in the Asiad, according to Reyes.