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Panlilio hopeful Martin, Clarkson get cleared as locals

Jordan Clarkson's eligibility for Gilas in the FIBA World Cup is still hanging in the balance. PSC Media Pool (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio keeps a positive attitude as the waiting game for Remy Martin and Jordan Clarkson to play for Gilas Pilipinas' FIBA World Cup team continues.

Clarkson, a rising star for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, played for Gilas in the Asian Games and is expected to be a shoo-in for the FIBA WC squad if he gets cleared as a local.

Meanwhile, Martin, who plays for Arizona State in the US NCAA, recently announced that he would love to play for Gilas.

"We welcome him to be part of the pool," Panlilio told Dugout Philippines on Monday night prior to Gilas' practice at the Meralco Gym here.

What is keeping them from the pool is their eligibility, especially in the case of Martin, who missed out on the national team call-up.

"We still have to see the papers. We have not seen something that will make him eligible based on FIBA rules," Panlilio continued.

FIBA rules require players of mixed descent to have a passport of the country they want to represent before he turns 16 for them to become eligible.

Panlilio also said that both Martin and Clarkson being declared ineligible as locals will deal Gilas a major blow as the team is keen on bringing back Andray Blatche as its naturalized player.

Martin and Clarkson can only for Gilas as naturalized players if they do not get the clearance, and each national team can only have one naturalized player for a certain international competition.

"He's our only choice right now," Panlilio said on Blatche.

With a new position as the second vice president of the FIBA Asia Board, Panlilio looks to talk to FIBA to hopefully amend the residency rules and finally give Martin and Clarkson the clearance to play for Gilas.

"We hope to work with FIBA. We have a lot of Fil-foreigns, and they're really Filipinos. So we're really trying to talk to them and say, 'Maybe you should understand our situation and understand that these are Filipinos. At least one of their parents were Filipino when they were born, so based on our constitution, they are Filipinos," Panlilio continued.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno