Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio bared that the federation is in discussions with FIBA regarding the new schedule of the Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers’ second this November in a bubble at Manama, Bahrain.
In a press conference Thursday, the amiable executive said that the SBP would want to follow the original arrangement of games instead of the reportedly adjusted one, which would see Gilas Pilipinas play four games in four days.
“Officially, we have been in discussions with FIBA that we want to follow the competition calendar that they have given us where we’re supposed to play Thailand and Korea in this window — plus the make-up game we lost during the February lockdown with Thailand. So we’re prepared to play two games against Thailand, and Korea,” Panlilio said.
The Filipino dribblers were initially set to play Thailand on the 26th, South Korea on the 28th, and then the Thais again on the 30th to make up for their match last February that was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
That game versus the Indonesians, which they beat soundly in the first window 100-70, was supposed to be played in the third window in February but FIBA decided to move it this window. And that, for Panlilio, isn’t fair for Gilas.
“There are some messaging that they want us to play Indonesia. We don’t feel like that’s fair to us because that is not scheduled until the next window in February where we play Korea and Indonesia,” he said.
“So, our stand today is we want to follow the competition calendar that they’ve given us. That’s where we stand today.”
SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, meanwhile, felt that this change in schedule might be because of Korea’s uncertainty in this window since it has reportedly begged off from going to Manama due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Korea has indicated that for their own reasons, I guess principally due to COVID-19, will not be able to participate. So technically, if the team doesn’t show up, for the competition, I guess you should forfeit the game. Now it’s not clear yet as we speak what the FIBA decision is in terms of the sanctions they might or might not impose on Korea.
“So we’re waiting for that decision. The forfeiture part will drive who we’ll play in the February window as well,” added the FIBA Central Board member. “You cannot just look at the second window in Bahrain but you also have to look at the third window. Does Korea forfeit this game? In my view technically they should because that was an originally scheduled game.”
Pangilinan also doesn’t have any problems playing against Indonesia — who will be parading naturalized center Lester Prosper and Brandon Jawato in the Manama bubble — as long as it’s a friendly.
“We’re happy to play with Indonesia anytime since they are there already as I understand it. But the question is, is that game rated or unrated? If it’s a friendly game, I don’t think we should have a problem,” he said.
“But if it’s a rated game, this is a big question mark for us, to put it politely.”