After the recent success of the PBA Philippine Cup, Clark is set to host another bubble as it rolls the red carpet for the last leg of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers on Feb. 18 to 21 next year.
The region’s governing body for basketball announced Friday the venues for Window 3 of the Asia Cup, and Clark has been chosen as one of four cities that will stage the qualifying tournament.
The country will host Group A where Gilas Pilipinas is leading with a 3-0 record, followed by South Korea (2-0), Indonesia (1-2) and Thailand (0-4).
Also, teams from Group C – Australia, New Zealand, Guam and Hong Kong – will play in Clark.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio previously mentioned that the federation is willing to host other groups since the Asia Cup is divided into six brackets.
The SBP chief said that the decision of FIBA Asia is a welcome development for the Philippine, which will also host the 2023 FIBA World Cup together with Japan and Indonesia.
“The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is honored and humbled to be chosen as one of the hosts for the last round FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this coming February,” said Panlilio in a statement.
“We are thankful for FIBA’s trust in our capacity to host not just a successful tournament but, more importantly, a safe one. We’re glad to have met their health standards and are looking forward to welcoming Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand as well as Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and Hong Kong from Group C.”
“The SBP is excited to show them the same warmth of Filipino hospitality even under these difficult circumstances.”
The other bubble venues selected by FIBA are Tokyo (Japan), Manama (Bahrain), and Doha (Qatar).
Bahrain hosted Window 2 of the Asia Cup qualifiers last Nov. 27 to 30 where the national team went 2-0 by beating Thailand twice.
As per FIBA, it mentioned that “the most important criteria in choosing the hosts, like for the previous window, was health and travel guarantees and compliance with FIBA health protocols” that includes testing and controlled entry into a secure environment.
For two months, Clark hosted the bubble tournament of the PBA Philippine Cup, which ended last Wednesday with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel emerging as champion following a 4-1 win against TNT Tropang Giga in their best-of-seven Final series.
Panlilio said the PBA experience will help the SBP in staging the bubble tournament.
“We’re also thankful to the PBA for sharing with us their expertise after successfully hosting the PBA Bubble and we’re looking forward to working hand-in-hand with them, the involved Philippine government agencies, and other Philippine basketball stakeholders in this unique opportunity,” he said.