SBP gears up for World Cup elims

    PANLILIO

    THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is ready to roll out the red carpet anew in the second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

    SBP President Al Panlilio said the federation agreed to host Group A games in February next year due to the success of the Clark window last June.

    “The FIBA Regional Office Asia has been closely monitoring the pandemic situation in the region and they saw fit to employ their right to hold the games in a bubble,” Panlilio said.

    “The SBP, because of the experience we gained in hosting the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, volunteered to host the games in Group A. We’re excited to welcome Korea back into the country and host New Zealand and India as well,” he added.

    Set to be held 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.

    Panlilio is hoping the SBP gets the job done anew and improves its hosting next year.

    “FIBA gave the SBP a commendation for the way we hosted the ACQ window, and this led to their decision to take us up on our offer to host again this coming February,” he said.

    “We’ll be hosting four teams in total, down from the seven the last time, so we’re confident that we could not only repeat what we accomplished but improve on it.”

    The Tab Baldwin-mentored Gilas Pilipinas crew completed an emphatic 3-0 sweep in the third window and 6-0 record overall to gain a slot in the Asia Cup.

    The Filipino dribblers 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.