SBP assigned WC qualifiers hosting chores

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas will play the first two windows of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers on home ground.

This after the International Basketball Federation decided to stage the first eight games in Group A in a bubble setup in the Philippines in February 2022.

Gilas and South Korea, who were originally scheduled to face off twice in a home-and-away format in November, will renew their rivalry on Philippine turf in the re-scheduled first window four months later.

New Zealand and India will also come over for their back-to-back showdowns.

For the second window, the Pinoy dribblers will tangle with India and New Zealand while the Koreans will meet the Kiwis and the Indians.

The FIBA cited the “travel restrictions related to COVID-19 in several East and Southeast Asian countries” as the primary reason for switching into a bubble play for the Group A hostilities.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, which hosted the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark last June, welcomed the new hosting chores.

“FIBA gave the SBP a commendation for the way we hosted the ACQ window and this led to their decision to take us up on our offer to host again this coming February,” SBP president Al Panlilio said as he expressed the federation’s excitement in hosting recent visitor Korea again as well as New Zealand and India.

“We’ll be hosting four teams in total, down from the seven the last time, so we’re confident that we could not only repeat what we accomplished but improve on it,” added Panlilio.

New Zealand last played in the Philippines during the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament while India last visited during the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

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