The Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) has decided to cancel its supposed bubble hosting of the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers (ACQ).
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio confirmed the development yesterday.
“The SBP is saddened by the development,” Panlilio said upon receiving a letter from FIBA Asia executive director Hagop Khajirian announcing the cancellation of the bubble.
Qatar is supposed to host the bubble of its own ACQ group, Group E, in the capital city of Doha even as it took over from the Philippines and Japan as the supposed bubble host for the Groups A and B games.
The SBP has already set up a bubble in Angeles for the Group A and even the Group C games, but following a travel restriction imposed on South Korea and Australia due to the coronavirus United Kingdom variant, the SBP decided to call off its hosting.
“We thank our Qatari friends for their willingness to host our group given the short notice,” Panlilio added.
However, Qatar itself is now facing a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, and the national government there is set to impose a lockdown, leading to the QBF’s decision to call off its hosting.
“Although we are saddened by the situation, we also understand the predicament faced by the Qatar Basketball Federation as they had no choice but to follow the mandate of their government,” Panlilio added. “These are extraordinary times and we can only do our best given the hand we are dealt.”
The announcement came as another major blow for Gilas Pilipinas Men, who are currently at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba for their bubble training.
“We know the kind of work that our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s pool has done in Calamba,” Panlilio said. “The players and coaching staff have all sacrificed so much in this process as they’ve been apart from their families to represent the Philippines against South Korea and Indonesia. We were looking forward to seeing them perform because we know that a lot of Filipinos draw inspiration from them as well during these difficult times.” With the Doha hosting now cancelled, it is now possible that the third window schedule will be moved to a later date, although this may not affect the schedule of the FIBA Asia Cup itself in August.*PNA