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NBA (National Basketball Association)

Asian Games 2018: NBA U-turn means Jordan Clarkson of the Philippines will meet China’s Zhou Qi and Ding Yanyuhang

Players released in a one-time exception, giving the Indonesian Asiad a big-names boost

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 11:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 10:34pm

The NBA has granted a one-time exception to allow its Asian stars to compete in the 2018 Asian Games.

The U-turn means three players will be on show in Indonesia, with the NBA releasing them just 48 hours after dashing their hopes.

Dallas Mavericks’ Ding Yanyuhang and Houston Rockets’ Zhou Qi will play for China, while Cleveland Cavaliers’ Jordan Clarkson is allowed to play for the Philippines, although the shooting guard will miss their first game against Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Zhou, 22, has played one season with the Rockets, featuring three times in this year’s play-offs. Ding, 24, won the FIBA Asian Championships with China in 2015 and is yet to play in the NBA after signing with the Mavs this summer. But hopes are high for the two-time Chinese Basketball Association domestic MVP.

Clarkson, who is eligible to play for the Philippines through his maternal grandmother, began his NBA career at the LA Lakers in 2014 where he played until being traded to Cleveland in February.

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All three should line up when China take on the Philippines on August 21 in group D, in what will be Clarkson’s debut for the nation.

That could be Clarkson’s first and last game depending on results as it is now a three-team group after Palestine withdrew.

China play Kazakhstan in the final group game two days later.

Unlike the Olympics, the Asian Games is not one of the tournaments for which the NBA releases its players, but it has made an exception this year.

“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,” the NBA said in announcing its decision.

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China have a record seven golds in the men’s basketball, while the Philippines are tied with South Korea on four golds, although their wins came in the first four Asian Games. South Korea won the last tournament in 2014.