Gilas to miss home fans in FIBA World Cup qualifiers

Photo from FIBA

Gilas Pilipinas could play without the presence of fans for its campaign in the Group A of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers later this month at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios said the Quezon City government nixed the idea of allowing the games slated Feb. 24 to 28 to be played at the Big Dome, but added that things may change depending on the alert level status.

Metro Manila is currently under Alert Level 2 until Feb. 15, but there’s a possibility that the restrictions could be downgraded as COVID casee continue to dwindle.

“Nag-paalam po tayo sa Quezon City at ang sagot ho ng Quezon City is ‘Okay (pwede kayo mag-host) pero wala muna tayong paying fans, sa ngayon,” Barrios said during his brief appearance in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

“Pero tignan natin kasi diba, ang update nila (sa alert level status) is every 15 days? So ang umiiral ngayon, yung advisory covering period of Feb. 1 to 15.

“Tignan natin yung development sa 16 to end of February, which will cover the qualifiers natin kung may pag-asa. Pero sa ngayon po, wala,” added Barrios.

The SBP hosted last year’s third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers without fans at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The cage federation was given the responsibility of staging matches in Group A feauring Gilas, New Zealand, South Korea and India.

Gilas will play South Korea twice on Feb. 24 and 28, India on Feb. 25 and New Zealand on Feb. 27.

New Zealand plays India on Feb. 24 and Feb. 28 while South Korea takes on the Kiwis on Feb. 25 and India on Feb. 27.

Barrios said he has been in communications with FIBA regarding the testing protocols and improvements needed before the country plays the role as main host of next year’s World Cup.