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CHANGE OF HEART | Clarkson to play for Gilas after getting NBA clearance

Jordan Clarkson will play for Gilas after all. Ivan Saldajeno (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Just two days after making an initial decision not to allow Jordan Clarkson to play in the Asian Games, the NBA made a 360-degree turn.

The league, as per Philippine team chef de mission Richard Gomez, finally gave the Cleveland Cavalier the go-signal to play for Gilas Pilipinas.

The actor and former champion athlete, who is also the current mayor of Ormoc, confirmed that the turnaround was a result of a last-minute appeal.

"Nakita rin ng NBA na pinayagan maglaro yung dalawang Chinese NBA player sa Asian Games. So siguro they decided tsaka nag-plea na rin tayo na palaruin si Jordan Clarkson so pumayag sila," said Gomez.

In a report by Spin.PH's Gerry Ramos, Robert Bachmann, the assistant chef de mission, confirmed that Clarkson also got the clearance from the Olympic Council of Asia and the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee to be reinstated to the national team lineup.

Now that Clarkson can finally play for Gilas, the next plan is, according to Gomez, to quickly bring Clarkson to Jakarta.

"Diretso na siya ng Jakarta para makaabot siya sa first game natin about Kazakhstan," Gomez bared the plan.

Also as per Gomez, Clarkson will be the flag bearer for the Philippines in the Asian Games opening ceremonies on Aug. 18, two nights after Gilas begins its bid for a gold against Kazakhstan.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno