The FIBA Asia Cup 2021 in Jakarta, Indonesia, initially set next month, was postponed to July next year, the world governing body for basketball announced Friday, July 23.
The FIBA Asia Board, in a statement, announced the recent development in consideration of “multiple aspects such as travel restrictions, the well-being of the participants, fan access and experience, and the objective of ensuring the highest quality of events” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
FIBA added that the Asia Cup will proceed after the FIBA World Cup Asia Qualifiers.
The regional tournament was originally scheduled on August 17 to 29 as Gilas Pilipinas earlier completed its sweep in the qualifiers.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said in a statement that “we definitely understand the decision from FIBA.”
Panlilio bared that one of the reasons for the postponement was due to the current COVID-19 situation in Indonesia.
Per an Al Jazeera report, Indonesia on Thursday, July 22, had more than 49,500 new cases and 1,449 deaths, surpassing India and Brazil to become the country reporting the world’s highest number of daily cases.
In the Philippines alone, the government has set new travel restrictions owing to the local transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
“We commiserate with our friends from Indonesia during these very difficult times,” said Panlilio.
“When we welcomed their delegation for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, they were tremendous guests and they were eager to return the favor. Hosting the FIBA Asia Cup was a source of pride from the PERBASI (Indonesian Basketball Association) and, although it had to be postponed, we’re looking forward to competing there once the entire world gets a better grip of this COVID-19 situation. We know that the FIBA Asia Cup will be a great primer to Indonesia’s co-hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 with Japan and the Philippines.”
Gilas Pilipinas earlier committed to suit up for the 2021 King Abdullah Cup in Jordan starting July 25 to August 3 supposedly as a springboard for the FIBA Asia Cup.
Panlilio, however, assured that the national team will still “greatly benefit” from the Jordan stint come July next year.