Gilas Pilipinas is headed to Doha, Qatar for the third and final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), who earlier had to scrap the country’s hosting of Group A and C’s matches in Clark, Pampanga after the national government imposed strict travel restrictions due to new COVID-19 variant, received communication from FIBA Thursday evening regarding the new venue for the postponed games.
“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.”
“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,” he added.
The Gilas pool is currently deep in training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna and eagerly awaiting the arrival of teen prodigy Kai Sotto from the US.
The scheduled matches, meanwhile, will push thru with Gilas taking on Korea on February 18, Indonesia on 20th and Korea again on the 22nd.
“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,” said Panlilio.