The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has regrettably informed that it has cancelled the Philippines’ hosting of Groups A and C for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this February due to the country’s travel ban.
“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,” said SBP President Al Panlilio.
“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,” it continued.
“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.”
The new strains of the COVID-19 virus have severely affected travel all around the world, and the Philippines is no exemption.
Expected to arrive in the country were Group A teams South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand and, as well as, Group C squads Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Guam.
“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 explained.
The Philippines is not the only host affected by the current situation. Tokyo, Japan – which was supposed to host Group B – also begged off, with the Qatar Basketball Federation offering to host the games in Doha instead.
“We are working with FIBA to look for possible solutions to this situation,” closed Panlilio.
“We look forward to the day that the SBP welcomes FIBA basketball to our shores again.”