IATF OKs PH hosting of FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers; PBA scrimmages allowed in GCQ, MGCQ

The government's pandemic task force has given the green light to the Samahan Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to host the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup Qualifiers in June 2021 amid the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said the games, however, should be under a "bubble" arrangement.

"The IATF approved the request of the Samahan Basketbol ng Pilipinas to host the Asia Cup Qualifiers in June 2021 under a 'bubble-type' setting in Clark, Pampanga, subject to health and safety protocols," he said.

Based on IATF Resolution No. 114, the testing and quarantine protocols of arriving foreign participants shall be subject to the FIBA-required protocols and without prejudice to the entry travel restrictions being implemented by the Philippine government.

All non-player participants not otherwise covered by FIBA rules, whether foreign or local, shall self-isolate upon arrival in the venue until the testing on the sixth day before release.

As the national government agency with the visitorial and supervisory authority, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) shall assume responsibility for monitoring and supervising the compliance of the health and safety protocols of the event.

Meanwhile, designated hotels within the bubble are prohibited from accepting other guests outside of the FIBA participants.

FIBA announced in February this year that the international governing body had chosen the Philippines and Lebanon as the destination for the final window.

The SBP said in the same month that the Philippines will be hosting two groups while the Lebanese Basketball Federation will front the third group.

PBA scrimmages

Meanwhile, Roque also announced that the IATF has allowed the conduct of scrimmages and practice of the Philippine Basketball Association in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ), subject to proper health and safety protocols.

It was reported this week that Batangas City has allowed PBA teams to hold regular practices inside the city once protocols and necessary requirements are finalized.

The PBA was set to inspect on May 7 the three wooden courts that could be used as practice venues if plans for teams to practice in Batangas City will push through.