SBP’s official statement on FIBA Asia Cup postponement

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) just received a letter from FIBA announcing the postponement of the FIBA Asia Cup from August this year to July 2022.

“FIBA Asia Board carefully assessed the planning and organization of its upcoming Asia events in consultation with FIBA Asia Board as well as key stakeholders and partners,” the letter signed by FIBA Executive Director-Asia Hagop Khajirian stated.

“This evaluation has taken into consideration multiple aspects such as current travel restrictions, the well-being of the participants, fan access and experience, and the objective of ensuring the highest quality of events.”

It was announced that the FIBA Asia Cup will still be hosted by Indonesia in July of 2022, which would be right after the window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asia Qualifiers.

Thirteen teams, including Gilas Pilipinas Men, have already qualified for the FIBA Asia Cup with three spots still up for grabs among five third-ranked teams. This final round of qualifiers will happen in the latter part of August 2021.

“The safety of everyone involved was the priority of FIBA and this led to the decision to postpone the FIBA Asia Cup,” said SBP President Al Panlilio, who also holds the position of Second Vice President of the FIBA Asia Central Board.

“Gilas Pilipinas Men flew to Jordan yesterday to play a series of games that was supposed to be in preparation for the FIBA Asia Cup but we definitely understand the decision from FIBA,” added Panlilio.

“Our young squad will still greatly benefit from the games they will play against Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan and they will surely put that experience to good use come July of 2022.”

One of the major reasons for the postponement of the FIBA Asia Cup is the current COVID-19 situation in Indonesia. The Philippine government recently barred the entry of travelers from Indonesia or those with recent travel history to the country to control the spread of the contagious Delta COVID-19 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 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.”