Gilas Pilipinas will see action in Clark, Pampanga after all in the 3rd and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
This development was finalized with a letter from FIBA Executive Director-Asia Hagop Khajirian who disclosed that the three groups who were supposed to play in Doha, Qatar will now close out their respective campaigns in the Philippines and Lebanon.
“We are happy to state that in these difficult circumstances that we are experiencing, and just within the 18 hours after the forced cancellation of the Qatar bubble, four national federations already expressed their support to FIBA by proposing to host one or more groups in their country to play the cancelled games,” said Khajirian in a statement.
“Fixing the dates of the ‘window to be created’ under this unexpected and unordinary situation will still need about 10 days to be finalized. However, we have already decided to have these games in the Philippines, where the SBP will host two groups, and in Lebanon, where LBF will host the third group,” he added.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio claimed that SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan was behind the federation’s move to volunteer once more as host of the already twice-cancelled tournament.
“SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan was really adamant about volunteering once again to host and it was under his leadership that led us to make the necessary moves to get the ball rolling again,” said Panlilio.
“We at the SBP did not wish for this to happen. We were perfectly fine with playing the role of competitor instead of host for the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. However, we know all too well the risks involved in planning an international sporting event during these extraordinary times,” he added.
“What we have to remember during these difficult times that the entire international basketball community is part of one team. We must do our best to help each other as much as we can. We know that our great fans from all over Asia draw a lot of inspiration from their respective national teams and this is why hosting these games holds a lot of value even during a pandemic.”