May 26, 2023

Will FIBA's special rule allow Clarkson and Brownlee to play together for Gilas in WC

PARIS - Two heads are better than one.

If there's a way possible, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas is proposing to have both Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee play together for Gilas Pilipinas in the coming FIBA World Cup.

Vargas said Clarkson, the star guard of the Utah Jazz, will serve as the team naturalized player, while Brownlee, 35, is going to play as a local player if FIBA allows it in case the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) makes an appeal on the case of the Barangay Ginebra import.

"It's worth a try. Bakit hindi," said Vargas just before the PBA Board planning session began at the Warwick Hotel here.

"Why does it have to be a choice," he added. "But the question is, is it possible?"
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Vargas is obviously banking on FIBA's special residency rule since Brownlee has been playing in the country since the 2016 Governors' Cup for Barangay Ginebra.

He became a naturalized player early this year and played for the national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers and the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, where he led the country in regaining the basketball gold

"Si Brownlee pusong atin. Ugaling atin na yan. Nakita nyo naman," Vargas added.

Brownlee and Clarkson playing together is certainly a big boost to a Gilas side that is bracketed with Italy, Dominican Republic, and Angola in Group A of the World Cup.

"You have a beautiful scenario when you have both," Vargas said. (RG)