By JONAS TERRADO
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is looking forward to the hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers under a bubble setup in February.
SBP President Al Panlilio said the experience of staging the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers last June will help a great deal in trying to provide a better experience for all teams in Group A of the qualifying phase for the 2023 competition.
“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,” Panlilio said.
Gilas Pilipinas takes on rival South Korea, New Zealand and India in the Feb. 2022 event which will have a schedule equivalent to two windows.
Group A of the Asian Qualifiers was supposed to have a home-and-away format beginning next month, but FIBA’s executive committee opted to have it in a centralized venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gilas originally was set to face South Korea twice in a home-and-home series in the first window before playing away matches in India and New Zealand.
The Philippines was one of the hosts of the final window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, with matches in Groups A and B held at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Pampanga.
Gilas won all three games in that window, including twice against South Korea to sweep Group A while China, which went unbeaten in Group B, played all of its four matches in Angeles City.
“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,” said the SBP chief.