Ricky Vargas pushes Clarkson and Brownlee to strengthen Gilas Pilipinas in Fiba World Cup
The Philippines already has a naturalized player Jordan Clarkson for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup, and even if a better player is available, it may be too late to have another player go through the process. similar.
But Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) can still strengthen the national team by inviting Clarkson and Justin Brownlee to a global rollout starting in August.
It will take a long time for that to happen—and that is if Ricky Vargas can even execute his idea.
The president of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) told a small group of Filipino sports journalists in Paris on Friday before the start of the professional league’s annual planning session: “We can sign up for Justin is recognized as a local by Fiba. “If there’s a way we can do it, why not try it.”
Vargas said that with Brownlee already having “his professional career in the country,” SBP could apply to Fiba for recognition of Barangay Ginebra’s entry to the PBA to play as a local.
“I don’t know if there’s a precedent for that, but we can try,” he said. “Justin is Filipino just like you and me. He has been with us since 2016 and I understand his sons are even staying with him in the country.”
Vargas said that Brownlee began his PBA career in 2016 giving SBP a strong opportunity to go after Fiba, “unlike our other naturalized players who actually don’t reside (in the United States). Philippines) and only to attend tournaments.
“Justin’s case is very different,” Vargas continued. “I can see that in his heart he is a Filipino. You all saw his emotions in Cambodia (at the Southeast Asian Games). He doesn’t play as a mercenary as I see him.
“His feelings (after helping the country win back the basketball gold medal) are on another level.”
The Philippines will co-host the World Cup from August 25 alongside Japan and Indonesia, with the KO rounds to take place in Manila.
Gilas will try to win at least two group matches to get promoted and more or less secure himself as Asia’s best finisher, which automatically gets a spot in the ceremony. The main draw of the Olympics in 2024 is here.
“We have a better chance of doing it (winning two games) if we can both play,” Vargas said. “It would be a beautiful scenario for us, and it would end any discussion about who our naturalized player should be.”
Team Philippines is placed in Group A along with world force Italy, Dominican Republic and Angola.
For the Filipinos to compete in the KO qualifiers, they will need at least two wins — which they can reasonably claim against the Dominican Republic and the African champions.
“We need to improve on our best ever (World Cup) (2014) to be able to go to the Olympics without any trouble,” Vargas said. “And that means winning two games.”
The Philippines beat Senegal in extra time, 81-79, in Seville, Spain in 2014, a victory that came after narrow losses to Croatia, Puerto Rico and Argentina.
“We have shown that it can be done,” Vargas said. “And if we can get both of them together (Clarkson and Brownlee), we have a bigger chance.”
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