Even before the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas was already wary of the freezing conditions in Kazakhstan.
But what the Philippine team did not expect is the lack of hospitality from the hosts.
After Gilas’ 84-46 beatdown of Qatar in Doha, the Philippine contingent immediately rushed to the airport for their 4:00am flight.
From there, they had to endure a five-hour flight from Doha to Istanbul, Turkey, then waited for eight hours before flying out to Astana, Kazakhstan.
What came next, though, was unprofessional by all accounts.
“First time we experienced it,” SBP SAP Ryan Greogorio told PBA.ph.
No one from the National Basketball Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan was there to welcome their visitors. Yes, Gilas arrived to a bare airport.
The team had to sleep on the floor to pass the time as no one was there to clear them. Even the immigration officials were not at the airport.
After a three-hour wait, the players were finally released from the airport.
But besides the chilling minus-16 degree weather, the Filipinos were welcomed by a bunch of drunk locals, who threw unpleasantries at them.
Gilas take on the also-ran Kazakhstan on Sunday, February 24 at 10:30pm (Manila time). It is a must-win game for the Philippines in order to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
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