GILAS BOUND FOR DOHA AS FIBA QUALIFIERS RELOCATES ITS FINAL WINDOW TO QATAR
In the wake of the Philippines’ cancellation to host Groups A and C of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas is set to fly to Doha, Qatar as FIBA announced the official change of venue on Thursday night.
FIBA named the Qatar capital, Doha, as the new hostilities for Group A composed of Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.
“We are thankful to FIBA and the Qatar Basketball Federation for all their efforts to make sure that the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers for Group A will push through,” expressed Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio.
“We would have loved to host Groups A and C in Clark but things beyond our control made it necessary to adjust our plans and we thank everyone for their flexibility. The games will be played within the same timeframe but we’ll be communicating with the Qatar Basketball Federation for the final schedule as there might be necessary adjustments since they are now hosting 12 teams from the original four,” he added.
In addition, Doha was originally to host Group E featuring Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. Then came January 22, as Japan hosting was canceled due to restrictions imposed by the Japanese authorities, the country also stepped up to host Group B that includes China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Malaysia.
Gilas still continued their training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna for the third week now despite many changes from the league.
“Our national team pool was saddened when they found out they won’t be playing in Clark but they did not slow down with their preparations. Now with the pool nearing completion and a definite location for their games, the SBP is confident that they will step it up into another gear,” Panlilio shared.
“We’re confident that our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team will be ready for competition come February as the SBP continues to work with the IATF to seek their guidance about the protocols necessary for our team to travel to and from Doha,” he continued.
With this, the national team has only up to two months to gear up the rousing FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers which Gilas has full support from the country.