Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has announced the cancellation of the hosting of the Philippines of Group A and C of the much-awaited FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this February due to the travel ban in the country.

/ 27 January 2021

“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,” SBP President Al Panlilio said.

“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,” he added.

Despite the multiple efforts exerted to guarantee a safe hosting of the third window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, it is in much sadness that the SBP has announced it will no longer be possible.

“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.”

Due to the new strain of COVID-19 that has caused multiple travel bans all over the world, the Department of Foreign Affairs has imposed travel restrictions in the country and despite the commitment to FIBA, there would be no exemptions to the said restrictions.

“We’ve constantly communicated with our partners from the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and they have informed us that there would be no exemptions from the current travel restrictions announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Panlilio continued.

The Philippines was supposed to host Group A teams composed of South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand as well as Group C squads Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Guam.

In addition, Tokyo, Japan also backed off from hosting Group B of the qualifiers. 

Currently, SBP is working with FIBA to find a possible solution to the situation.

“We look forward to the day that the SBP welcomes FIBA basketball to our shores again.”