The Philippines will host all Group A matches of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers originally slated for two windows under a bubble format in Feb. 2022.
FIBA made the announcement after its executive committee decided to implement another bubble for two of the four groups in Asia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan, on the other hand, is going to stage two Group B matches between the host country and China late next month while Australia and Taiwan meet twice in February.
“Due to the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 in several countries in East and South East Asia, Groups A and B will be played in a ‘bubble’ format in order to ensure the health and safety of all participants,” FIBA said Wednesday, Oct. 13.
It will be the second time that the Philippines is going to stage a FIBA bubble, following the final window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers last June in Angeles City, Pampanga.
A home-and-away format was originally put in place for the Group A matches, with Gilas Pilipinas facing rival South Korea twice in the November window before taking on India and New Zealand in the February window.
Instead, eight matches will take place under the Feb. 2022 bubble.
Gilas is already assured of a spot in the 2023 World Cup, being one of the co-hosts of FIBA’s centerpiece event.
But the Filipino cagers plan to use the qualifiers to hone their skills before the World Cup.