Fate of Gilas stint in Doha up in the air

Published February 11, 2021, 8:33 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from FIBA

The fate of this month’s resumption of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers is hanging in the balance following the postponement of one game and the decision of two countries to skip the upcoming third window.

FIBA announced Thursday that it has postponed the two Group C matches between Guam and Hong Kong in Bahrain due to restrictions imposed by the country in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan and Malaysia also announced its decision to withdraw from their Group B campaign set in Doha, Qatar due to the pandemic.

Read: Kai Sotto itching to join Gilas training

Media reports in Taiwan said the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association failed to meet the FIBA requirement of at least 10 players for the window because of injuries and health and safety concerns related to the virus.

On the other hand, the Malaysia Basketball Association said the team won’t play in the third window due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country and the government’s re-imposition of a Movement Control Order which began last month.

The MCO is somewhat similar to the Community Quarantine regulations being imposed in the Philippines.

Read: Gilas training on track as FIBA relocates third window to Doha

The postponement of the two Guam-Hong Kong matches and the withdrawal of Taiwan and Malaysia have raised the concerns as to whether the final phase of the continental qualifiers will proceed as scheduled.

Gilas Pilipinas is due to leave for Doha on Saturday for its own campaign in the Qualifiers. The Philippines faces South Korea twice and Indonesia once between Feb. 18 to 22.