The pool for Gilas Pilipinas Men continued to train even after the announcement of the cancellation of the Philippines’ hosting of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifier bubble in Clark, Pampanga as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) was confident that FIBA would find an alternate host to push through with the games.
The SBP has received communication from FIBA that the remaining Group A games will now be hosted in Doha, Qatar as announced by FIBA Executive Director for Asia Hagop Khajirian.
“We are thankful to FIBA and the Qatar Basketball Federation for all their efforts to make sure that the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers for Group A will push through,” said SBP President Al Panlilio. “We would have loved to host Groups A and C in Clark but things beyond our control made it necessary to adjust our plans and we thank everyone for their flexibility. The games will be played within the same timeframe but we’ll be communicating with the Qatar Basketball Federation for the final schedule as there might be necessary adjustments since they are now hosting 12 teams from the original four.”
Doha was the original host for Group E, which includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. On January 22, it was also announced that the Qatar Basketball Federation stepped up to the plate to host Group B with China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Malaysia after Tokyo’s hosting was cancelled due to restrictions imposed by Japanese authorities.
“Our national team pool was saddened when they found out they won’t be playing in Clark but they did not slow down with their preparations. Now with the pool nearing completion and a definite location for their games, the SBP is confident that they will step it up into another gear,” Panlilio closed.
“We’re confident that our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team will be ready for competition come February as the SBP continues to work with the IATF to seek their guidance about the protocols necessary for our team to travel to and from Doha.”