FIBA teams, Gilas Pilipinas enter Clark bubble

CLARK, PAMPANGA – Gilas Pilipinas Men and foreign basketball teams have started to arrive in Clark, Pampanga for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup Qualifiers slated to commence this week.

BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Dizon, Clark Development Corp. (CDC) President and CEO Manuel Gaerlan, and BCDA Senior Vice President for Corporate Services Group Arrey Perez witnessed the arrival today of teams at the Quest Hotel and Conference Center in Clark.

“This is the first international sporting event since we went through this very difficult time. Seeing Gilas Pilipinas compete here at home is such a welcome sight and gives us so much hope that we are towards the tail end of this difficult time,” Dizon said in a press conference as teams were arriving.

For his part, Gaerlan said, “We are very much proud and happy to host here in Clark the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. We hope that our countrymen will cheer not only for our national team but also welcome the teams from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Chinese Taipei.”

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios, Deputy Executive Director Butch Antonio and Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio joined the press conference virtually.

“We cannot overemphasize our gratitude for (BCDA and CDC’s) valuable support to make this event take place after a couple of earlier postponements because of the challenges of the pandemic. But through your kind and strong assistance, finally we are here,” Barrios said.

He added, “As far as this international event is concerned, this is only the first step towards our long journey to the 2023 World Cup that we are hosting.”

The Philippines, through the BCDA, CDC and SBP, is hosting the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers from June 16 to 20.

Perez said the event was also made possible through the coordination with various stakeholders.

“Prior to this event, we coordinated with all stakeholders and they gave us their full support. The most critical thing is to provide tighter security as we’ve learned during PBA bubble. All hands on deck and we’re confident that we’ll make this event successful.” Perez said.

Upon their arrival at the hotel, Gilas Pilipinas and six other teams from China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand are being required to take a series of RT-PCR tests as part of the strict health and safety protocols set by FIBA.

Foreign participants were required to take pre-travel RT-PCR tests 12 days, 7 days and 3 days prior to departure.

In case a bubble participant tests positive for COVID-19, the individual would immediately be isolated and undergo a confirmatory test a day after. Contact tracing would be conducted within a few hours after detection.

Movement of players, coaches and staff will be limited to within the airports, hotels and the game venue.

Hardcourt battles begin on Wednesday as Gilas Pilipinas faces South Korea in an anticipated match under Group A. The team will also play against Indonesia on June 18, and South Korea again on the last day of the tournament on June 20.

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