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Philippine Arena eyed as venue for FIBA WCQ 6th window

The Philippine Arena is likely the site for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios revealed on Friday that the Philippine Arena in Bocaue is being eyed as the battleground for Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

Gilas will host two games in the final window of the qualifiers, against Lebanon on Feb. 24 and Jordan on Feb. 27, basically making both matches "test events" for FIBA World Cup itself that the Philippines will host along with Japan and Indonesia from Aug. 25-Sept. 10.

The 55,000-seater arena, said to be the largest indoor venue in the world, will host the knockout stages of the FIBA World Cup, making it the best place for the SBP's "on-the-job training" for the tournament itself.

"In some way, we will sort of OJT ourselves. Sa Philippine Arena kasi yan eh," Barrios said during the Sports On Air Weekly podcast.

He added that the SBP is taking some lessons from the successful four-nation hosting of the FIBA Eurobasket earlier this month and hopefully put them into practice.

"Kakagaling lang ng tatlong opisyales natin sa Berlin. Kadadating lang nila the other day," Barrios bared, adding that he was in a meeting with joint management committee leader John Lucas, who was sharing some tidbits too about the FIBA WC hosting, before gracing the online forum.

Barrios then assured the fans that the preparations remain intensive to make sure that the hosting will be as grand as possible.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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