SBP given go signal to prepare for FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
SBP given go signal to prepare for FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers
Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, Matt Nieto and Mike Nieto

MANILA, Philippines — The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has received the green light from the government to allow Gilas Pilipinas to start preparation for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers set November 26 to 30 in Manama, Bahrain.

“The SBP already had a plan in place to form a team for the November window weeks ago but we had to make sure we did everything by the book because of the current situation,” said SBP President Al Panlilio.

"SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, being part of the FIBA’s Central Board, has been adamant about our participation as FIBA restarts the Asia Cup Qualifiers to further strengthen our partnership with them and show that we’re completely behind them in this endeavor.

“MVP’s guidance has been pivotal throughout this process and we’re happy to finally get the green light,” he added.

No less than the National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Deputy Chief Implementer Undersecretary Vince Dizon gave the green light for the long awaited resumption of training for the national team.

The SBP also announced the composition of the squad headed by Kobe Paras, Juan Gomez de Liano, Isaac Go and Ivorian Angelo Kouame, should his naturalization papers gets enacted in Congress in time for the five-day bubble.

Also in the roster are Javi Gomez de Liano, Rey Suerte, Justine Baltazar, Matt and Mike Nieto, Dave Ildefonso, Will Navarro, Kenmark Carino, Calvin Oftana, Jaydee Tungcab, Dwight Ramos and Allyn Bulanadi.

The SBP went collegiate because the majority of the PBA teams are currently in the Clark bubble.

The coaching staff will be composed of Jong Uichico, Tab Baldwin, Boyet Fernandez, Alton Lister, Sandro Soriano and Andrei Tolentino.

“Our partnership with the PBA allowed us to have five players in Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte as full-time members of our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Team and we already sent invitations to a select group of players to join our training, which will also have a bubble setup,” said Panlilio.

“We’re thankful for the continued guidance from the NTF and IATF and we will closely work with them to ensure that our team’s preparation and departure from the Philippines will be safe.”

The SBP wrote the Inter-Agency Task Force last October 19 to ask for guidance but was it was turned down because the Department of Foreign Affairs did not allow Filipinos to travel to Bahrain.

It wrote again last Monday for reconsideration after making assurances the organizers will exercise strict safety and medical protocols in place for the event including testing before departure and upon arrival in Manama.

“After careful deliberation and taking into consideration the safety and health protocols of both countries involved, as well as the lifting by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the travel ban to Bahrain, we are pleased to inform you that the NTF has reconsidered its earlier position and hereby allows the participation of the SBP to the Qualifiers for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup,” the letter stated.

“The NTF likewise allows the SBP to conduct basketball practice at Inspire, Calamba, Laguna under a ‘bubble’ arrangement.”

The SBP is extending its appreciation to FIBA for adjusting their plans for the competitions and the Bahrain Basketball Association for graciously accepting the hosting of this event in such a short notice.

“We know it was very challenging for FIBA and Bahrain to put all the safety protocols in place with only a few weeks to work with but the SBP is confident that our team will be playing in a safe environment in Bahrain,” added Panlilio.



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