Despite the cancellation of Clark as host of the February window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, the Gilas Pilipinas pool of players will continue to train inside Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Meanwhile, FIBA Asia is looking for a new host for the last group games of the Qualifiers.
“At this point, we continue practicing. The February window can still happen. We’re waiting for FIBA, in the next few days or next week, to give us an indication of what’s going to happen,” clarified Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio.
“We are hopeful that we can find a solution. FIBA is doing its best to look for another location where we could play the games. FIBA and the entire international basketball community as a whole have been heavily impacted by the effects of the pandemic but we’re all working to find ways to push through with the games.”
“Yes, that is the plan,” added SBP special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio.
Tuesday afternoon, the SBP regretfully announced that it has to forfeit the country’s hosting of Group A and Group C games due to the travel ban imposed by the country that stemmed from the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Expected arrivals in the country included Gilas poolmates South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia and, as well as, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and Hong Kong.
Currently, in the Calambubble are Kiefer Ravena, Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Rey Suerte, Javi Gomez de Liaño, Dave Ildefonso, Justine Baltazar, Calvin Oftana, William Navarro, Kemark Carino, CJ Perez, Justin Chua, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Raul Soyud, Dwight Ramos, and naturalized player candidate Angelo Kouame.
Gilas are also waiting on the arrival of Kai Sotto.
Also in are coaches Tab Baldwin, Jong Uichico, Norman Black, Caloy Garcia, Sandy Arespacochaga, Boyet Fernandez, Yuri Escueta, Andrei Tolentino, Alton Lister, and team manager Gabby Cui.
It’s not just Groups A and C that are affected, but also Group B games which were supposed to be hosted by Japan. Qatar, host of Group E games, has stepped up to host Japan, China, Chinese-Taipei, and Malaysia.
“We are working with FIBA to look for possible solutions to this situation,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.