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PH reclaims ACQ hosting rights

The AUF Sports and Cultural Center is a FIBA ACQ bubble host again! PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--It looks like the Philippines will host a FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers bubble after all.

FIBA executive director for Asia Hagop Khajirian announced in a letter sent to various national federations including Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, which was made public late Friday night, that the Philippines has been chosen again to host one bubble in the third window of the ACQ.

"We have already decided to have these games in the Philippines, where SBP will host two groups, and in Lebanon, where LBF (Lebanese Basketball Federation) will host the third group," Khajirian wrote.

FIBA did not exactly disclose where the new Philippine bubble will take place, but logically, it may happen in Angeles.

The SBP was initially approved to host an ACQ bubble at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center with Quest Hotel as the delegations' official residence.

However, due to the travel restrictions set amid the spread of the new COVID-19 variant from United Kingdom, the SBP called off the bubble hosting with Qatar taking over.

But earlier in the day, the SBP confirmed that Qatar begged off from hosting too due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases there.

Khajirian said that FIBA is glad that some domestic governing bodies stepped in following the cancellation of the Doha bubble.

"We are happy to state that in these difficult circumstances that we are experiencing, and just within the 18 hours after the forced cancellation of the Qatar bubble, four national federations already expressed their support to FIBA by proposing to hose one or more groups in their country to play the canceled games," he further stated, although he did not disclose the other two countries that made a hosting bid.

However, Khajirian confirmed that the games for Groups A, B, and E will be postponed.

"Fixing the dates of the 'window to be created' under this unexpected and unordinary situation will still need about 10 days to be finalized," he further said in the letter.

This means the games could be played by either late February or early March the soonest.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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