Gilas closed door home game ‘painful,’ admits SBP chief
There will be no Filipino fans cheering in the gallery for Gilas Pilipinas in its next home game in the second round of the 2018 Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
The national team will play against Qatar on September 17 “behind closed doors” as part of the sanctions handed out by Fiba on Thursday on top of suspensions and whopping fines.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio admitted that having to play without the country’s “sixth man” is going to be painful.
“It is painful obviously to have a closed door, it’s similar to the games in the NCAA before. I think it’s driving a lesson to everybody that we could have done it in a better way, ” said Panlilio in a press conference Thursday after Fiba’s announcement.
“Of course, it’s painful [without the] people who want to watch us live, the fans who have always been our sixth man in all these competitions.”
The Philippines has also been placed under probationary status by Fiba for two more home games for a period of three years.
“If there is no untoward incident in the Qatar game, the next game will be held with the public in attendance. Any time there’s a similar incident, I hope to god nothing more, then they can put us in a closed door again. In the next three years, we better have no similar incident,” explained SBP executive director Sonny Barios.
Panlilio saw the probationary period as a chance for the country “to show that maybe this is a just a blip in our basketball history.”
Panlilio, though, is confident that the game against Qatar can still be broadcast on various platforms so fans can watch from their homes.
“I think broadcast, that will be allowed. The logistics and the rest Fiba said will work with us on how to execute that,” he said.
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