SBP offers to host final leg of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers

·2 min read

The country’s basketball governing body, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has expressed its intentions of hosting the games in the third and final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, which will be held in February of next year.

In a virtual press conference, SBP president Al Panlilio revealed that they have already made their intentions known to FIBA and they are hopeful of snagging the hosting rights to games in Group A, which has the Philippines, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.

Panlilio added that if they would be granted hosting rights, they would be staging the games in a “bubble” setup similar to the one that is being used in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup.

"Hats off to Commissioner Willie (Marcial), they did a good job in the PBA showcasing what we can do. It's a model that we can offer to Fiba as one of the areas they can consider for the next bubble hosting in February," Panlilio said.

"I think FIBA has welcomed that offer. We just have to start discussions with them with the nitty gritty of arrangements and the things that need to happen. I'm sure we'll be able to arrive something that will not only be good for us and for FIBA as well."

The move has the blessing of SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, who believes this would be a huge morale-booster for a country that is struggling to find its footing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's similar to what the NBA has taken by way of attitude, and the PBA as well to the credit of the league and Commissioner Marcial, and FIBA has taken note of what we have done here," Pangilinan said.

"We want to return as much as possible to as near normal times as we can. Basketball is huge and the extent that we can do it both here and internationally, we'd like to suggest that we're not gonna be imprisoned by this virus and we'll stand up to it," he added. (JNP)