FIBA: Gilas Pilipinas to play in Doha for final qualifying window

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2021 08:49 PM

FIBA: Gilas Pilipinas to play in Doha for final qualifying window 1

MANILA, Philippines -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Thursday night confirmed that Gilas Pilipinas will be playing in Doha, Qatar for the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.

This comes after the Philippines' hosting of the window was cancelled because of the travel ban still in place in the country.

Doha will now serve as host for Group A, which also includes South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. The city is also hosting Group B, which is composed of China, Chinese-Taipei, Japan, and Malaysia.

Tokyo was originally set to host Group B but they, too, withdrew as hosts due to restrictions imposed by Japanese authorities.

"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," SBP President Al Panlilio said in a statement.

"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," he added.

Panlilio said the games will be played within the same timeframe, but he anticipates adjustments in the schedule as Doha is now hosting three groups instead of one. The city was already the original host from Group E, which includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. 

The Philippines will play South Korea twice and Indonesia once in the window, where they look to build on their current 3-0 record.

"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," said Panlilio. 

"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 said. "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."

The national team pool has been training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna since mid-January. They expect to welcome Filipino center Kai Sotto in the coming days, after the young center's commitment to play in the upcoming window.

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