|Gilas Pilipinas Men will now host the FIBA ACQ in June. FIBA (file photo)|
MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas Men is set to have a busy midyear as Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio confirmed on Tuesday that their games in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers will be played in June.
"The FIBA Asia window that's supposed to happen this month has been moved to June," Panlilio, also the Meralco Bolts' team governor, said in an online press conference with some fellow members of the PBA board and Commissioner Willie Marcial.
Originally scheduled for February, the window for Group A, where Gilas is a part of, has been heavily affected by the recent events regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the implementation of travel restrictions on places that have been affected by the new United Kingdom variant including South Korea, which is also in Group A, the SBP was prompted to let go of its supposed ACQ hosting with Qatar stepping in.
However, Qatar had to beg off too as the COVID-19 cases there have been rising, and the SBP eventually got its hosting rights back.
Panlilio added that the SBP is still finalizing the dates, although Executive Director Sonny Barrios told Noli Eala in the sports show Power and Play on Saturday that the plan is for the Group A window to take place from June 14-20 in Angeles.
If the plan pushes through, the ACQ window will happen two weeks before Gilas heads to Belgrade for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
But according to Panlilio, the SBP wants to begin the national team buildup as soon as possible.
"The intention of the program is to start the buildup quite early, maybe starting by this month, and we might go out internationally for some competitions," he bared.
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