SBP ready for another postponement
Knowing how uncertain things are here in the country, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said it is ready if the hosting of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup qualifiers is hit with another postponement. “At the end of the day, our main priority is to keep everybody safe,” SBP president Al Panlilio said in a web-radio show guesting on Saturday. “We’ll be hosting two groups—and two more teams from Group C. So we’re looking at [several] teams coming [to the country] plus our very team (Gilas Pilipinas). So that’s a lot coming in,” he added.
The Philippines is set to host the final window of the qualifying games for the continental tournament that will be played around August in Jakarta, Indonesia. Clark Freeport has been made the venue again after the meet was moved to Doha, Qatar, in February due to the travel restrictions here. The games, which will run from June 16 to 20, hope to utilize the setup used by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) when it staged the resumption of its 2020 Philippine Cup in October.
Should the games push through, Panlilio hopes to make the most out of the lessons learned from the PBA’s bubble. “We want to make sure that everybody’s safe, that it’s a bubble. Fiba has been very, very strict. They require teams, all teams, to be in quarantine [even] before they leave. They do testing before they leave so that we’re assured that when they come here they’re really safe,” Panlilio said. “The environment we’re to create here is similar to the PBA bubble. We’ve learned a lot from the PBA bubble so we’ll do the same thing,” he said.
“[Our] relationship with the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) [traces back to] last year. Sec. (Vince) Dizon is very aware of the things to be done,” he added. Gilas currently sits atop Group A with a sparkling 3-0 card, needing only one more win to clinch a spot in the main tournament. INQ