THE World Basketball Federation announced yesterday that Groups A and B matches in the first two windows of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers will be played in a bubble format, with the Philippines hosting Group A games anew.
“Due to the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 in several countries in East and Southeast Asia, Groups A and B will be played in a ‘bubble’ format in order to ensure the health and safety of all participants. Japan will host two Group B games of the November window of the Asian Qualifiers in Sendai: China-Japan on 27 November and Japan-China on 28 November. Both games between Australia and Chinese Taipei will be played during the February window,” the FIBA said in a statement.
“The Group A games scheduled for the November and February 2022 windows will be played in the Philippines during the period of the February 2022 window.”
These games are two Gilas Pilipinas-South Korea tiffs, two New Zealand-India matches, Gilas-New Zealand, Gilas-India, South Korea-India, and South Korea-New Zealand games.
Initially, the Gilas-South Korea and New Zealand-India matches were set on Nov. 26 and 29.
Japan will host two Group B games of the November window in Sendai: China-Japan on Nov. 27 and Japan-China a day later.
Both games between Australia and Chinese Taipei will be played during the February window.
The Filipino cagers completed an emphatic 3-0 sweep in the third window and 6-0 record overall to gain a slot in the Asia Cup.
Gilas lost both of their matches to world-ranked foes Serbia and Dominican Republic and failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in the Olympic qualifiers, however.
Gilas joined in the King’s Cup where it wound up fourth supposedly to toughen up for the Asia Cup but the August 16 to 28 tilt was officially rescheduled next year.
“Following the FIBA’s Executive Committee’s decision to reserve the right for bubbles in certain sub-regions due to the pandemic, the FIBA Regional Office Asia confirmed the following updates for the upcoming November window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers. The regular home-and-away format will be used for Groups C and D,” the FIBA said.