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Red carpet welcome

In fact, Barrios said they have already revisited their talks with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Bea Micaller

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Top basketball official Sonny Barrios says the country is looking forward to a successful hosting of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in June. / DAILY TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

The third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers will likely take place in June, giving host Philippines more time to set the stage for the successful hosting of the tournament, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios.

“What we are looking at is to hold it 14 to 20 June,” said Barrios on Power & Play radio program, noting that “it is a tentative schedule.”

It was supposed to be held last month but the FIBA opted to postpone it owing to the coronavirus situation during that time.

“They (SBP and FIBA) have yet to release the official statement but that’s where we’re looking at right now.”

This gives Gilas Pilipinas ample time to convene and prepare for the crucial window that will determine the Philippines’ participation in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, which is slated for 16 August in Jakarta.

In fact, Barrios said they have already revisited their talks with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) headed by Vince Dizon in plotting the hosting of the pocket tournament.

Barrios, the former commissioner of he Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), added that they are in constant communication as well with Quest Hotel in Clark, which will serve as the official home of the delegates.

“Actually, we will revive the plans we have already plotted before and fortunately, the office of secretary Vince is very positive and supportive of us,” Barrios said.

“We have also reached out to the hotel and we are grateful that they are not getting tired of us despite already having two postponements because after all, this is a national hosting and not only of SBP.”

Qatar attempted to host the event after the Philippines begged off at the last minute but the capital of Doha likewise decided not to proceed owing to travel restrictions.

Aside from the FIBA Asia Cup, the official also highlighted the country’s unexpected berth in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The Philippines was tapped as replacement for New Zealand in the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers which is set to take place from 29 June to 4 July in Belgrade, Serbia.

According to Barrios, the event is so important for the federation that SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan had to call for a crucial meeting last Saturday.

During the meeting, SBP president Al Panlilio and program director Tab Baldwin were present to chart the nationals’ plans moving forward.

“We are upbeat for the OQT,” Barrios said.

“PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, SBP president Al and PBA commissioner Willie Marcial are already discussing the plans for it including the pool composition and training schedule.”

Barrios stressed they are also looking at the possibility of flying to other countries to compete in various competitions as scrimmages here won’t be enough for the nationals.

“They’re also looking at the possibility of going abroad,” he shared.

“Because what we are lacking is the buildup we can only get from competitions. It would not be enough if there are only scrimmages so the coaching staff are looking at it.”

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