Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has finally been given the clearance to begin Gilas Pilipinas’ bubble camp inside Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
The national team is training for the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers set in Manama, Bahrain from November 26 to 30.
“After careful deliberation and taking into consideration the safety and health protocols of both countries involved, as well as the lifting by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the travel ban to Bahrain, we are pleased to inform you that the NTF has reconsidered its earlier position and hereby allows the participation of the SBP to the Qualifiers for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup,” the letter stated. “The NTF likewise allows the SBP to conduct basketball practice at Inspire, Calamba, Laguna under a ‘bubble’ arrangement.”
However, the team composed of 16 players and has six coaches will only have a few days to train as they are set to leave the country on November 19.
The team is composed of Isaac Go, the Nieto twins, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, Jaydee Tungcab, the Gomez de Liano brothers, Dwight Ramos, Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar, Dave Ildefonso, Angelo Kouame, William Navarro, Calvin Oftana, and Kemark Carino.
“Our partnership with the PBA allowed us to have five players in Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte as full-time members of our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Team and we already sent invitations to a select group of players to join our training, which will also have a bubble setup,” explained Panlilio. “We’re thankful for the continued guidance from the NTF and IATF and we will closely work with them to ensure that our team’s preparation and departure from the Philippines will be safe.”
The SBP is extending its appreciation to FIBA for adjusting its plans for the competitions and the Bahrain Basketball Association for graciously accepting the hosting of this event on such short notice.
“SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, being part of the FIBA’s Central Board, has been adamant about our participation as FIBA restarts the Asia Cup qualifiers to further strengthen our partnership with them and show that we’re completely behind them in this endeavor. MVP’s guidance has been pivotal throughout this process and we’re happy to finally get the green light,” said Panlilio.
“We know it was very challenging for FIBA and Bahrain to put all the safety protocols in place with only a few weeks to work with but the SBP is confident that our team will be playing in a safe environment in Bahrain.”
The SBP is hopeful that our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Team could inspire many Filipino basketball fans during these difficult times.