Clark hosting of FIBA Asia Cup window cancelled due to travel ban

 By Girald Gaston

PHOTO: SBP/Tiebreaker Times

The anticipated hosting of the Philippines for the final window of the FIBA Asia qualifiers has been cancelled due to the country's travel ban, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed on a press release on Tuesday.

Before the announcement, the Philippines was set to host its fellow Group A teams Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand, as well as Group C squads Australia, New Zealand, Hongkong and Guam on February in a bubble at Clark, Pampanga.

“The SBP wanted nothing else than to be one with the international basketball community as it attempts to bounce back in 2021 after taking a huge hit during the pandemic. Our commitment to FIBA has never wavered as evidenced by our participation in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain even amidst the difficult circumstances,” said SBP President Al Panlilio.

“The SBP offered to welcome not just Group A where we belong but Group C as well because we were confident we’d be able to host a safe environment,” he continued.

The new variant of the COVID-19 virus have severely affected the travels from all around the world and the Philippines was not exempted to it.

“We’ve exerted a lot of effort into our hosting of the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and this is why it is with great sadness that we announce it is no longer going to happen."

"We’ve constantly communicated with our partners from the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and they have informed us that there would be no exemptions from the current travel restrictions announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Panlilio further explained.

The Philippines is not the only host country that was affected by the current situation. Japan, which was supposed to host Group B, passed the torch to the Qatar Basketball Federation to hold the games on Doha instead.
"We are working with FIBA to look for possible solutions to this situation. We look forward to the day that the SBP welcomes FIBA basketball to our shores again," Panlilio closed.

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