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PH to host FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers anew

The Philippines is once again a bubble host for the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers (ACQ).

FIBA executive director for Asia, Hagop Khajirian, announced in a letter sent to various national federations, including the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, and made public late Friday, that the country has again been chosen to host one bubble in the third window of the ACQ.

“We have already decided to have these games in the Philippines, where SBP will host two groups, and in Lebanon, where LBF (Lebanese Basketball Federation) will host the third group,” Khajirian wrote.

FIBA did not exactly disclose where the new Philippine bubble would take place but it may happen in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The SBP was initially approved to host an ACQ bubble at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center with Quest Hotel as the delegations’ official residence.

However, due to the travel restrictions set amid the spread of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant from the United Kingdom, the SBP called off the bubble hosting, with Qatar taking over.

However, the SBP said Qatar also begged off from hosting due to a rising number of Covid-19 cases there.

Khajirian said FIBA was glad that some domestic governing bodies had stepped in following the cancellation of the Doha bubble.

“We are happy to state that in these difficult circumstances that we are experiencing, and just within the 18 hours after the forced cancellation of the Qatar bubble, four national federations already expressed their support to FIBA by proposing to host one or more groups in their country to play the canceled games,” he said without disclosing the other two countries that made a hosting bid.

However, Khajirian confirmed that the games for Groups A, B, and E would be postponed.

“Fixing the dates of the ‘window to be created’ under this unexpected and unordinary situation will still need about 10 days to be finalized,” he said in the letter.

This means the games could be played either by late February or early March at the soonest. The Gilas Pilipinas Men only needs one win to qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia later this year.*PNA

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