The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) now has the green light to host the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in June in Clark, Pampanga.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in its Resolution No. 114, has approved the federation's request to hold games inside a bubble from June 16 to 20.
In a statement, the SBP extended its appreciation to the task force and other officials who facilitated the advancement of its plans.
"We extend our appreciation to (Philippine Sports Commission) Chairman Butch Ramirez and Deputy Chief Implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 Vince Dizon for all their help throughout this process," the federation wrote. "The SBP has been working with FIBA, government agencies, and other partners to ensure a successful and, more importantly, a safe bubble."
Three groups will be hosted by the Philippines as 20 teams bid to join the tournament proper on August 16 to 28 in Jakarta.
Gilas Pilipinas, bracketed in Group A, will play South Korea twice on June 16 and 19, and Indonesia on the 20th. The Nationals will only need one win to advance.
Group B is composed of Chinese Taipei, Japan, Malaysia and China, while Group C has Australia, New Zealand, Guam and Hong Kong competing for spots.
Amman, Jordan will host Groups E and F in June. Group D teams have finished games, as Lebanon and Bahrain have already qualified.
The Philippines was originally set to host the qualifiers last February, but the SBP was forced to pull out due to the implementation of another travel ban following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Qatar took over to host, but the country was beset with its own pandemic problems as well, paving the way for the Philippines to regain hosting of the final window.
"We're looking forward to hosting our friends from Groups A, B, and C and showing them the kind of hospitality that the Philippines is known for," said the federation. "The SBP knows that Filipino basketball fans have waited a long time for this and we're just as excited as they are to have international basketball in our country again."