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SBP targeting mid-June for hosting of FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is looking at a mid-June hosting of the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, executive director Sonny Barrios said in an interview on Saturday.

Speaking over Radyo5's Power & Play, Barrios added that the dates have not been finalized and are subject to change.

"Currently, it's a tentative schedule. [FIBA] has not released it officially but that's what they are looking at right now," mentioned Barrios.

"We will just revive [our pitch] last March. Sec. Vince [Dizon's] office has been very positive and supportive that we host in June," he added.

The third window was supposed to be scheduled last February by Clark, Pampanga, before Philippine government regulation forced it to be moved to Doha, Qatar. However, the same problems sprung up in the Middle Eastern nation, which allowed FIBA to revert to the SBP.

Exploratory talks for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) set for June 29 to July 4 in Belgrade, Serbia have also started last week, spearheaded by SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and Pres. Al S. Panlilio, Barrios said.

The SBP has also reached out to the PBA in order to send the best team possible in the OQT.

"It's not easy, to put it bluntly, to revise [the PBA] schedule. But they have been very supportive. Taking it easy, like they said. They know the value of the OQT for us. That is why I'm sure they will work out an acceptable formula," explained Barrios.

Naturalized player candidate Ange Kouame's bill is just two readings away from getting signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, and will most likely be available by June.

Another big tournament looming is the FIBA Asia Cup itself in August, and Barrios is urging program director Tab Baldwin to look at the three tournaments collectively in terms of planning.

"Gilas' calendar is filled up. That is why we should talk about preparation. Coach Tab and the crew should think of the three thoroughly," said Barrios.