Gilas Pilipinas to hold Fiba qualifying home games at Philippine Arena
MANILA, Philippines–The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Tuesday said that the Philippines will be wrapping up its Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Gilas Pilipinas is set to host Lebanon and Jordan in the cavernous site in February next year for the final sixth window of the tournament which is being used to prepare for the World Cup in August.
“We’re really scheduled to play there, whatever would’ve been the outcome (of the qualifiers),” executive director Sonny Barrios said on Tuesday, during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
“If you look back, the February window was held in Araneta (Coliseum in Quezon City), the Aug. 29 of the fourth window was at Mall of Asia Arena (in Pasay City) and now this sixth window at Philippine Arena because those are the three sites for the World Cup (in August),” he said.
The Philippine Arena, which seats 55,000 people, is one of the three venues which will be used for the global showcase.
Gilas Pilipinas last played in the Philippine Arena back on July 2, 2018, during the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers, most remembered for the melee that broke out in the third period that involved the Australian national team.
Barrios said that playing in the Bulacan venue will also serve as a team that will take care of the logistics of the hosting.
“It’s also going to be like an (on-the-job) training for the local organizing committee for the different venues,” he went on.
Gilas, now toting a 5-3 record in Group E play, is looking for payback against the Cedars, and a repeat of the Falcons.
The SBP official said that admission rates for the Window 6 games will be cheaper than the tickets for the games of the World Cup itself.
“I don’t have a specific number, but it should not be far from how we’re pricing the (qualifying games). Sure, the Philippine Arena’s (pricing) configurations are different from that of Smart Araneta Coliseum or SM MOA Arena, but I don’t think it’s going to be that far,” Barrios said.
“(The cage leaders) always say that as much as we can, the prices for general admission should be as reasonable as we could make it for the sake of our fans,” he added.
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