THE country’s hosting of the third and final leg of qualifying in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup has been cancelled due to the travel ban that has been imposed by the Philippine government.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 26, 2021, saying that the Philippines’ hosting of qualifying games in Groups A and C has been shelved.
“The SBP wanted nothing else than to be one with the international basketball community as it attempts to bounce back in 2021 after taking a huge hit during the pandemic. Our commitment to Fiba has never wavered as evidenced by our participation in the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain even amidst the difficult circumstances,” said SBP president Al Panlilio in a statement.
“The SBP offered to welcome not just Group A where we belong, but Group C as well because we were confident we’d be able to host a safe environment where world-class basketball players can showcase their skill without having to worry about anything else. We’ve exerted a lot of effort into our hosting of the upcoming Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers and this is why it is with great sadness that we announce it is no longer going to happen,” added Panlilio.
The games were set to be held at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Clark, Pampanga on Feb. 18 to 21.
The Philippines’ hosting was not the only one impacted by the pervasive Covid-19 threat as Japan has also begged off from hosting Group B games.
Panlilio added that they are now looking at other possible solutions to the dilemma.
“We are working with Fiba to look for possible solutions to this situation. We look forward to the day that the SBP welcomes Fiba basketball to our shores again,” said Panlilio.