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National Basketball Association allows one-time exception for players seeing action in Asian Games

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THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS’ JORDAN CLARKSON will don the Philippine colors at the Asian Games in Indonesia after the NBA granted a one-time exception for its players seeing action in the Asiad. — ALVIN S. GO

AFTER its policy on allowing its players to play in international tournaments was taken to task, the National Basketball Association (NBA) decided to grant a “one-time exception” for those seeing action in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.

In statement released to local media on Wednesday, the NBA, citing “a lack of a clear communication” of an agreement with the parties involved, said it had decided to give special exception from its existing policy in lending its players.

The action opened the doors for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson and Houston Rockets center Zhou Qi and Dallas Mavericks forward Ding Yanyuhang to represent the Philippines and China, respectively, in the event which is already under way in Jakarta.

“The NBA’s agreement with FIBA (world basketball governing body) stipulates that NBA players can participate in the Olympics, the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Continental Cup competitions and associated qualifying tournaments. Because the Asian Games are not one of those competitions, NBA players under contract are unable to participate,” the NBA statement read.

“However, due to a lack of clear communication of that agreement between the NBA and the Chinese and Philippines Basketball Federations, and after further discussions with both Federations, the NBA has agreed to provide this one-time exception,” it added.

The announcement came on the heels of the NBA coming under fire, especially from Filipino sports officials and fans, after it initially turned down the request to have Mr. Clarkson join the Philippine team.

The same policy was raised by the NBA in its first ruling on the case of Mr. Clarkson but left the policy open for questioning as it could not explain why Messrs, Zhou and Ding were allowed to play for China.

Mr. Clarkson is set to join the Philippine Basketball Association-powered national team, hopefully in time for its first game in Group D against Kazakhstan today.

The Philippines and China, meanwhile, collide on Aug. 21. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo