PH always ready to host FIBA events, says SBP boss

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2021 05:41 PM

PH always ready to host FIBA events, says SBP boss 1
SBP President Al Panlilio. File photo. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA -- The Philippines will always be willing -- and ready -- to host FIBA events, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio.

Panlilio's statement comes after the SBP was forced to withdraw as host of the upcoming window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers due to the travel ban imposed by the government. 

The federation, with help from the PBA, was all set to host two groups in Clark, Pampanga in a bubble set-up, similar to what the league used in its All-Filipino conference last year. They were forced to cancel the hosting, however, due to the travel ban that was meant to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 variant. 

"FIBA knows, I think, that we always would want to host as much as possible," said Panlilio during a recent guesting on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

"In fact, ito ngang last hosting, we were even willing to host another group," he pointed out.

The Philippines would have hosted Group A, which included Gilas Pilipinas, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, as well as Group C, which was composed of New Zealand, Australia, Guam, and Hong Kong.

When the Philippines withdrew as hosts, Doha, Qatar stepped up to absorb Group A games. They are also hosting their own group (Group E, with Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran) as well as Group B (Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia).

This recent setback notwithstanding, Panlilio says the SBP will always be ready to work with FIBA on events -- be it 5-on-5 or 3x3.

"I think FIBA is aware of that," he said. "Anytime we can host FIBA tournaments here, we do so, and we raise our hands and say we wanna host."

"May mga hosting fee nga 'yan eh, may gastos 'yan, but I guess we try to bring the tournaments here and the games here, because of the fans," he added.

"So we always try to raise our hand when there's a hosting opportunity for us."

While the Philippines was forced to withdraw its hosting of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, everything remains on track for its co-hosting of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The showpiece event will be held in three countries -- the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan.

Ryan Gregorio, Panlilio's special assistant in the SBP, has previously said that they are paying special attention to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics to determine how to hold a large-scale event during a pandemic.

"The best template is really the Tokyo Olympics. Meaning, how are they gonna do it, and we can get best practices out of that initiative," Gregorio said. "Kung ano man ang gawin niyan na pwedeng maging best practice natin 'yan pagdating sa 2023."

"But I'm really confident and I'm sure we're all confident, by that time, na nasugpo na natin itong napakahirap na sitwasyon natin about this COVID-19 pandemic. We're hopeful," he added.

Watch more News on iWantTFC