The Philippines will re-host the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirms Friday.
In a statement sent by FIBA Asia Executive Director Hagop Khajirian to all involved teams, he confirms that the Philippines will once again re-host the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
“Fixing the dates of the ‘windows to be created’ under this unexpected and extraordinary situation will still need about 10 days to be finalized,” said Khajirian.
“However, we have already decided to have these games in the Philippines, where the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will host two groups, and in Lebanon, where the Lebanon Basketball Federation will host a group,” he added.
According to Khajirian, the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar, due to the rising coronavirus cases in the country, has ordered all events to be called off including Qatar’s hosting of the FIBA Asia qualifiers for Groups A, B, and E.
Few weeks prior to the country’s re-hosting of the regional tourney, the Philippines had to pull out from hosting the third window in Clark, Pampanga due to the travel restrictions in the country.
For his part, SBP president Al Panlilio said: “Although we are saddened by the situation, we also understand the predicament faced by the Qatar Basketball Federation as they had no choice but to follow the mandate of their government.”
Meanwhile, the national team composed of amateur and PBA players are currently training since January at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna. They were supposed to fly to Doha on Saturday, February 13.
For its final 3 qualifier games, Gilas Pilipinas was scheduled to face Korea on February 18, Indonesia on February 20, and Korea again on February 22.
“The players and coaching staff have all sacrificed so much in this process as they’ve been apart from their families to represent the Philippines against South Korea and Indonesia,” Panlilio said.
“We were looking forward to seeing them perform because we know that a lot of Filipinos draw inspiration from them as well during these difficult times,” Panlilio added.
The SBP said FIBA will assess its available options to stage the games in the near future.