The Philippines have declared that it will be re-hosting the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers third window games, as per the international basketball governing body following Qatar’s cancellation of games on Friday due to the escalating COVID-19 cases in the country.

/ 13 February 2021

The Gilas Pilipinas’ trip was in peril after Qatar cancelled its hosting rights and was just about to break up camp but FIBA released a memorandum late Friday night that the Philippines will take over with Clark, Pampanga once again the venue for the two groups. 

“We are happy to state that in these difficult circumstances that we are experiencing, and just within the 18 hours after the forced cancellation of the Qatar bubble, four national federations already expressed their support to Fiba by proposing to host one or more groups in their country to play the cancelled games,” FIBA Asia executive director Hagop Khajirian said in a statement.

“Fixing the dates of the ‘window to be created’ under this unexpected and unordinary situation will still need about 10 days to be finalized. However, we have already decided to have these games in the Philippines, where the SBP will host two groups, and in Lebanon, where LBF will host the third group.”

The basketball league has yet to announce which groups will be playing in Clark but high chances are it will be Group A that includes the Philippines, Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia, and Group B, composed of China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Malaysia.

Lebanon will host another group, Fiba added.

Originally, Clark was tapped by the international body to host Groups A and C, composed of Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and Hong Kong, scheduled from February 18 to 22 in Clark, Pampanga under a ‘bubble’ but had to call off its hosting due to the travel restrictions implemented by the Philippine government against the new COVID variant.

Doha, Qatar then takes over the hosting for Groups A, B, and E.

However, Qatar eventually had to pull out its hosting a week before the scheduled start of the final window games, in accordance with the order of its Ministry of Public Health.

The SBP has yet to announce how to uplift its strict travel restrictions in order to host the groups in the Clark, Pampanga bubble set-up. 

Currently, Gilas has a 3-0 standing in Group A which needs to win at least 1 of its last 3 qualifier games to qualify in the FIBA Asia Cup.