Gilas to face Korea, Indonesia in Clark bubble

Published December 13, 2020, 11:38 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Gilas Pilipinas member Kobe Paras (Photo from FIBA)

Gilas Pilipinas will play two games against South Korea and one opposite Indonesia when it hosts two groups in the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in February.

FIBA released the schedule on its website Sunday with Gilas playing South Korea on Feb. 18 and 22 and Indonesia on Feb. 20 under a bubble setup in Clark, Pampanga.

The schedule comes after Gilas scored back-to-back wins against Thailand in the recent window of the continental qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain to take the lead in Group A with a perfect 3-0 record.

South Korea did not join the Manama bubble due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic while Indonesia won over Thailand in its lone match of the second window.

Gilas expects to be reinforced by PBA players for the third window after fielding an all-amateur squad in the two matches against Thailand.

There’s a possibility that Ateneo center Angelo Kouame could suit up for Gilas, provided the process for his naturalization can be completed in time for the said window.

The Filipino cagers need just one win in order to book a place in the main stage of the Asia Cup which is a quadrennial tournament.

Clark, coming off a successful staging of the PBA bubble, is also hosting Group C of the qualifiers composed of Australia, New Zealand, Guam and Hong Kong.

Guam is expected to play with NLEX’s Jericho Cruz, who represented the American island territory during the first window last February.

Cruz and Guam are scheduled to play five games, including two each against Australia and New Zealand, during their stay inside the Pampanga bubble.