FIBA eyes ACQ resumption in June – SBP

SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios bared that FIBA is eyeing to roll out the postponed final window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers (ACQ) in June.

Thirdy Ravena goes for a layup during the Philippines versus Indonesia game in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers held in Jakarta, Indonesia on Feb. 23, 2020. FIBA PHOTO

“They’re looking at June 14 to 20. That’s the tentative schedule for now. They have yet to make an official release, but that’s what they’re looking at right now,” said Barrios in Noli Eala’s “Power and Play” program on Saturday.

SBP regained the hosting rights of the qualifiers, following the cancellation of the event in Qatar due to rising Covid-19 cases.

The competition was supposed to transpire from February 17 to 23.

Barrios said SBP is now reviving talks with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, headed by Sec. Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, and other stakeholders involved in order to go about the country’s re-hosting of the ACQ in a “bubble” setup.

SBP was ready to host the event in Clark, Pampanga last month but had to back out due to more stringent travel restrictions back then.

Initially, Qatar volunteered to host the event but begged off due to the aforementioned worsening Covid-19 situation.

“We will revive what we did for [the] March hosting, but it got pushed back to June. The office of Sec. Vince [Hizon] is very supportive of our bid to host in June,” said Barrios. “We reached out again to our partners. Thank God they don’t get tired because the event [had] been postponed twice already. It’s heartwarming that they are all very supportive.”

The SBP will host two groups in the ACQ, including Group A in which Gilas Pilipinas belongs.

Gilas leads Group A with a 3-0 slate and is just one win away from qualifying in the Asia Cup proper in August. The national basketball team will face South Korea twice and Indonesia once for its remaining games in the ACQ.

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