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FIBA Asia Cup to be moved to July 2022

FIBA announced on Friday that it will be rescheduling the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, originally scheduled to be held next month in Jakarta, Indonesia to July 2022.

According to a memorandum penned by FIBA Asia Executive Director Hagop Khajirian to national federations, the move was done in consideration of numerous factors, including the possible availability of fans in the venue.

"FIBA Asia Board has carefully assessed the planning and organization of its upcoming Asia events in consultation with the FIBA Asia Board as well as key stakeholders and partners," said in the letter.

"This evaluation has taken into consideration multiple aspects such as current travel restrictions, the well-being of the participants, fan access and experience, and the objective of ensuring the highest quality of events," it added.

A total of 13 national teams, including Gilas Pilipinas Men, have already qualified to the continental basketball meet, and three more will be determined in the rescheduled Qualifying Tournaments set to be played in late August.

The FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2021 - Division A will proceed as scheduled from September 27 to October 3 in Amman, Jordan. Division B will be held from November 7 to 13, also in the same Middle Eastern capital city.

"We look forward to successful FIBA Asia Cup events without facing any obstacles, until then stay safe," closed the basketball official.

Indonesia is in a midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases, as it tallied over 604,000 cases in just the past two weeks, according data provided by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The Southeast Asian country also reported the highest number of new COVID infections in the world last week, according to the World Health Organization.

"The safety of everyone involved was the priority of FIBA and this led to the decision to postpone the FIBA Asia Cup," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panilio, who also holds the position as Second Vice President of the FIBA Asia Central Board.

"Gilas Pilipinas Men flew to Jordan yesterday to play a series of games that were supposed to be in preparation for the FIBA Asia Cup but we definitely understand the decision from FIBA," added Panlilio.

Meanwhile, the SBP on Thursday evening released its lineup for the upcoming King Abdullah Cup in Jordan calendared for July 27 to 30.

Gilas will be headlined by San-En guard Thirdy Ravena, along with the returning team captain Rey Suerte, Matt Nieto and Dave Ildefonso, who have recovered from injury.

Players from the recently-concluded FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers have also been included, among them RJ Abarrientos, Justine Baltazar, SJ Belangel, Geo Chiu, Isaac Go, Jordan Heading, naturalized center Ange Kouame, and William Navarro, Mike Nieto, Dwight Ramos, and Carl Tamayo.

Program director Tab Baldwin will remain as head coach, and will be flanked on the sidelines by Jong Uichico, Sandy Arespacochaga, Sandro Soriano, and trainer Dex Aseron. The delegation left for Jordan early Friday morning.

Gilas Pilipinas will be facing Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan A and B, and Tunisia in the tournament, which the SBP feels will still help the young squad in the long run.

"Gilas Pilipinas Men flew to Jordan yesterday to play a series of games that were supposed to be in preparation for the FIBA Asia Cup but we definitely understand the decision from FIBA," added Panlilio.

"Our young squad will still greatly benefit from the games they will play against Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan and they will surely put that experience to good use come July of 2022."