Here’s good news for Philippine basketball: more slots will be included for Asian countries to the World Cup.
The bad news: powerhouse teams Australia and New Zealand will be included in the merger of tournaments to be implemented by the International Basketball Federation.
“Mawawala na yung Oceania, mawawala na yung zone qualifying, yung Asia Pacific, joint na yun,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios.
According to Barrios, the idea was resisted by representatives from China and Iran, notable powerhouse teams in the Asian region.
“Si China niri-resist yun for billing purposes. Sa halip na champion sila, medyo tagilid na sila. Ganun rin siguro si Iran,” added Barrios.
Even Hagop Khajirian, the secretary general of FIBA, has had apprehensions before the merger, but several members in the Asian region explained to him the situation that will allow more countries to have better chances of making it to the World Cup in 2019.
“In fact for awhile, pumapalag sina Hagop. He was asking bakit natin sinuportahan yun. Ang akala nila merger of organization, ayaw niya yun dahil hindi na siya secretary general nun, pero merger of tournaments yun. Kaya tayo pumayag kasi kung dati top three kinukuha (FIBA Asia), plus dalawa sa Oceania. Ngayon sa merger, pito na. Mas madali tayong makakapasok. Kaya natin sinuportahan yung merger of tournaments,” added Barrios.
Photo courtesy of http://www.psamedia.ph/