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FIBA disqualifying South Korea from WCQ

South Korea is on the verge of missing out on the FIBA World Cup. FIBA/Paul Ryan Tan (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--By the looks of it, South Korea might miss out on next year's FIBA World Cup.

The updated team standings in Group A of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers reflect that South Korea has been disqualified from the said qualifying phase.

FIBA has yet to make an announcement confirming South Korea's disqualification, but apparently, FIBA arrived at the decision on Saturday and quickly reflected the team's fate in a footnote below the Group A standings.

South Korea's disqualification stemmed from the team's decision to beg off of entering the WCQ bubble at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and Novotel in Quezon City at the 11th hour following a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

However, Gilas Pilipinas and New Zealand were asked to show up at the arena for their supposed scheduled games against South Korea on Thursday night and Friday afternoon, respectively, hinting that forfeitures would be slapped on South Korea.

The timekeeper ran the 15-minute forfeiture time in both instances, apparently formalizing Gilas and New Zealand's instant wins.

Article 20.2.3 of the FIBA rules states that a team could be disqualified from a FIBA-sanctioned tournament if it forfeits two straight games, which means South Korea might not be able to play its remaining games in the first round of the qualifiers.

South Korea is supposed to face India on Sunday and Gilas again the following night and is scheduled to play rematches with New Zealand and India in the June window.

Once the sanction has been formalized, Gilas, New Zealand, and India will get free passes to the second round of the qualifiers starting in August.

Joining them in the second round are the top three teams from Group C to form Group E.

Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon are currently tied at the top three spots in Group C at 2-1, while Indonesia is at the bottom at 0-3.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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