Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson goes up for a dunk during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 115-105. Image Credit: AP

Manila: A Philippines bid to have Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Jordan Clarkson play for their Asian Games team has been dashed after the National Basketball Association refused to release him.

Clarkson, who appeared off the bench in two 2018 NBA finals games against repeat champions Golden State Warriors, was included by the basketball-crazy Asian nation in their squad last week as they tried to get his paperwork done on time.

However, the Philippine federation (SBP) said on Monday it has been informed that the NBA would not release Clarkson for the Asiad.

“Of course, very disappointed,” SBP president Al Panlilio said.

“But knowing our team under coach Yeng [Guiao], we will fight and play hard. We have always been resilient,” Panlilio added.

Clarkson, 26, had not previously played for the Philippines, but has in the past expressed an interest in playing for the country of his maternal grandmother.

SBP executive director Renauld Barrios said the Asian Games was not included in the NBA’s agreement with world governing body Fiba that allows NBA players to take part in the Olympics, the FIBA World Cup and continental cup competitions.

A 2014 second-round draftee of the Washington Wizards, Clarkson has an NBA career average of 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists, most of them during a spell at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Philippines had originally withdrawn from the Asiad men’s basketball tournament after seeing 10 of their first-team players and two coaches hit with suspensions and fines after an on-court brawl with Australia at a World Cup qualifier last month.

However, the federation hastily assembled a team from scratch, naming Clarkson in the 12-man roster last week, after being prevailed upon by a senior aide to president Rodrigo Duterte to change their decision.

Winners of four Asiad basketball golds, but none after 1962, the Philippines are in the tough Group D with one of the gold medal favourites, China. Their opening games is against Kazakhstan on August 16.

Meanwhile, the Indian men’s handball team, whose participation at the Asian Games got mired into controversy before getting clearance, began their campaign at the quadrennial event with a 28-38 defeat against Chinese Taipei at the Popki indoor stadium. The Games are set to begin in the Indonesian capital with opening ceremony on August 18 but competitions in many events such as handball and football began today.

In the 13-team men’s competition, India have been grouped with Chinese Taipei and Iraq in Group D.

In the women’s draw, 10 teams will be vying for gold. India will compete with South Korea, Kazakhstan, China and North Korea in Group A.

The women’s team will play their opening match on Tuesday against Kazakhstan.

The men’s handball team, ranked 12th, struggled to get into the Games as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) followed a policy of allowing only entry for teams, ranked 8th or higher in Asia.

The withdrawal of Australia, Uzbekistan, China, Oman and the UAE effectively placed India seventh among the participating teams in Jakarta.

The Handball Federation used this logic for inclusion of their team and eventually got the green light from the IOA after intervention of the Allahabad High Court.