Philippines back as FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers host

Published February 13, 2021, 12:04 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Members of Gilas Pilipinas sing the national anthem before its 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers match against Indonesia. (Photo from FIBA)

The Philippines is set to host games for two groups in the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers with Clark, Pampanga as the venue.

FIBA, through a letter addressed by Executive Director-Asia Hagop Khajirian, disclosed Friday night, Feb. 12., that the international governing body has chosen the Philippines and Lebanon as the destination for the final window.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas confirmed the development Saturday morning, Feb. 13., as the country is slated to host two groups while the Lebanese Basketball Federation will front the third group.

“SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan was really adamant about volunteering once again to host and it was under his leadership that led us to make the necessary moves to get the ball rolling again,” said SBP President Al Panlilio in a statement.

Four national basketball federations also gave proposals to FIBA following the last-minute cancellation of the qualifiers which include Groups A, B, and E in Doha, Qatar.

It will need at least extra 10 days for the schedule, including the groups and teams which will travel to the Philippines, and logistics to be finalized.

The SBP turned out as the top choice for FIBA since games were initially set in Clark, Pampanga before its first cancellation in late January before moving it to Doha, Qatar.

Earlier on Friday, SBP stated that Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health has ordered to scrap the qualifiers due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in its country.

The national team was initially scheduled to face South Korea twice on Feb. 18 and 22 and Indonesia on Feb. 20 in Group A.

Gilas Pilipinas leads the bracket with a 3-0 record followed by South Korea (2-0), Indonesia (1-2), and Thailand (0-4).

The Gilas pool led by Kiefer Ravena and five other PBA players started its rigorous training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna last January 10.