South Korea pulls out of WCQ February window after latest COVID-19 scare—report

South Korea pulls out of WCQ February window after latest COVID-19 scare—report

South Korea will reportedly skip the FIBA WCQ window as COVID-19 continues to haunt the team. FIBA/Paul Ryan Tan (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The COVID-19 scare within its midst has reportedly forced the South Korea men's basketball team to pull the plug in joining the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers February window in Quezon City.

Jo Young-Doo of Korean sports website Jumpball reported on Tuesday that South Korea is not anymore entering the WCQ open circuit bubble at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the said city.

According to Jo, the Korean Basketball Association arrived at the decision after an undisclosed player was tested positive for COVID-19 after getting retested the day before. The player initially got a negative result in an earlier test.

The national team still got to practice and even played a tune-up game against Korea University earlier this week with him around, potentially infecting almost everyone involved in the said activities.

Already lean in number due to previous COVID-19 scares in its key players including naturalized center Ricardo Ratliffe, the Korean team was scheduled to depart from Seoul later Tuesday, but with the latest infection, the team canceled its flight.

South Korea was supposed to play Gilas Pilipinas twice on Thursday and next Monday nights with one game each against New Zealand on Friday and India on Sunday in between.

As of posting, FIBA has yet to make a statement regarding South Korea's status and how this will affect the team's bid to make the FIBA World Cup next year.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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