MANILA, Philippines -- Like other stakeholders, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still waiting for FIBA to come out with a decision on the fate of South Korea.
This, after South Korea's basketball federation decided to skip the November 2020 window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers because of COVID-19 concerns.
Gilas Pilipinas was supposed to play South Korea in this window, where all games in Group A are being held in a bubble in Manama, Bahrain. The result of that game is one of the many questions left hanging by South Korea's withdrawal.
"I think what we're hearing is of course Korea wrote FIBA that they will not be able to join the qualifiers," SBP president Al Panlilio said Friday, after the elections of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) where he was elected first vice president.
"We have not heard what FIBA will do. I'm pretty sure they're assessing their options," he added.
Panlilio expects FIBA to come up with a ruling at the end of the November 2020 window, when all games have been played. So far, the Philippines has a 1-0 record in the window after a 93-61 win against Thailand last Friday. They play again on Monday night.
Asked if South Korea will forfeit their game against the Philippines, Panlilio said the decision will be up to FIBA.
"But technically from any tournament, 'pag may scheduled game, hindi sumipot 'yung kalaban, 'di ba jumpball, score two points, and then forfeit," he pointed out.
"Normally, ganyan eh," he added.
He was quick to add that these are far from normal times, however, and FIBA is expected to look at the bigger picture when discussing South Korea's fate.
After all, they are not the only country not to play in the qualifying window. There are no games in Group B (Japan, China, Chinese-Taipei, Malaysia) and Group C (New Zealand, Australia, Guam, Hong Kong). China, the host of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, has yet to play a single qualifying game.
"Lots of countries are also not being able to play," said Panlilio. "China has not played, I think, four games. Even in the first window, I think China has not played."
"So, it's a decision that will impact a lot of countries, and I think they're also looking at what that impact will be into the World Cup," he added. "So it is a process. I think they're looking at it, assessing it as a whole."
South Korea has a 2-0 record in Group A after beating Indonesia and Thailand in February. They are scheduled to play the Philippines in the next qualifying window, set for February 2021.