SBP working with stakeholders as FIBA Asia qualifiers moved to June

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2021 02:31 PM

(L-R) PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Panglinan, SBP President Al Panlilio, and SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios. This photo, taken September 2019, shows the SBP officials displaying the FIBA flag upon their arrival from China after the FIBA Basketball World Cup. File photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is set to revive talks with relevant stakeholders ahead of the country's hosting of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers this June.

This, according to SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios who revealed Saturday that FIBA has tentatively rescheduled the tournament for June 14 to 20.

"Hindi pa sila naglalabas ng official release, pero 'yun 'yung tinitingnan sa ngayon," Barrios told former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala on "Power and Play."

The Philippines was the original host of the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, but had to withdraw due to the travel ban imposed by the government in January. Doha, Qatar stepped up as hosts, but also had to cancel because of rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

Teams from Group D and Group F were able to play as scheduled in February in a bubble in Manama, Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas decamped from the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, where they had been training for the qualifiers. The team is expected to begin training again mid-March, not just for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in early June but also for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, set for June 29 to July 4 in Belgrade, Serbia.

In the meantime, SBP is set to hold talks with the Inter-Agency Task Force and other relevant government offices regarding its hosting of the qualifiers.

"Actually, ire-revive lang natin 'yung ginawa natin for sana March (na) hosting pero na-push back nga to June," said Barrios. "'Yung office nila Secretary Vince (Dizon), very positive and very supportive na mag-host tayo sa June."

Dizon, the president of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and the national COVID-19 testing czar, was crucial in bringing the PBA to its bubble in Clark, Pampanga last year.

"Nag-reach out ulit tayo," said Barrios. "Pasalamat na lang, hindi nadadala 'yung mga kausap natin dahil dalawang postponement na 'yung dinaanan natin."

"Pero nakakataba ng puso na lahat sila eh very supportive sa ating, after all national ano naman 'to, hosting. Hindi lang SBP. So 'yung mga hotel, 'yung venue and other so-called stakeholders are behind us," he added. "Nire-repaso ulit natin 'yung mga pinag-usapan noong dati."


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