The government has given the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) the green light to host the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga in June.
In a resolution, the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the request of SBP for a “bubble-type” setting of the continental qualifiers in Pampanga where the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) conducted its All-Filipino Cup bubble.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also relayed the development, highlighting the strict health protocols to be implemented during the competition.
The SBP expressed its gratitude to the IATF for the go signal they received in conducting the qualifiers from June 16 to 20.
“We extend our appreciation to PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez and Deputy Chief Implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 Vince Dizon for all their help throughout this process,” SBP said.
The local organization also assured the government of proper coordination with FIBA and other partners to ensure the success and safety of the bubble.
“We’re looking forward to hosting our friends from Groups A, B, and C and showing them the kind of hospitality that the Philippines is known for,” it stated.
SBP also dedicated the international competition to the Filipino fans, who are known for their love for the sport.
“The SBP knows that Filipino basketball fans have waited a long time for this and we’re just as excited as they are to have international basketball in our country again.”
The IATF has also allowed the practices and scrimmages of the PBA in areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
The third window has been delayed twice this year, after the Philippines withdrew from hosting last February because of the travel restrictions imposed by the government amid the rising number of COVID-19 infections.
It was moved to Doha, Qatar only to be cancelled anew as the country also saw a spike in coronavirus cases.
The Philippines joined South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia for Group A in the qualifiers. Group B, on the other hand, is composed of China, Japan, Malaysia, and Chinese-Taipei.
Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and Hong Kong are in Group C.