SBP: No need to naturalize Jordan Clarkson

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SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios (right) says that Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (left) is a natural born Filipino and does not need to undergo naturalization.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — National Basketball Association (NBA) star Jordan Clarkson is considered as a natural-born Filipino. So will not have to go under the naturalization process, according to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Following reports that the Lakers guard has signaled his desire to represent the Philippines, CNN Philippines asked SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios if Clarkson had a Filipino passport and if he had acquired it before the age of 16.

“Yes to both questions,” Barrios said in a text message.

Related: Jordan Clarkson shows desire to join Gilas

He, however, emphasized that the SBP is "still going through process of formal approval with FIBA," and it would provide all of the required supporting documents to the governing body.

A FIBA rule requires players to obtain the passport of the nation they intend to represent internationally before they turn 16. If the requirements are not fulfilled before the age of 16, then the only way the said player may represent the country is as a naturalized player.

FIBA rules also indicate that only one naturalized player may be part of any national team in all FIBA sanctioned competitions, a slot currently occupied by former Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche.

The SBP executive concluded by saying that Clarkson would not be a naturalized player but would be classified as a natural-born player.

If Clarkson does suit up for the Philippines, he will be expected to lead the charge for Gilas alongside Blatche at the upcoming FIBA Asia Championship in China in a bid to book a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Clarkson was selected by the Washington Wizards as the 46th overall pick in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft but was immediately traded to the Lakers.

Clarkson had a solid first year for the Lakers, averaging 11.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.

Read: Jordan Clarkson on his rookie year, the Lakers’ future, Kobe retiring, and feeling the Filipino love