FIBA picks Clark as one of four hosts of next FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers window

FIBA announced on Friday that the Philippines will be one of the three venues for the staging of the next FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers 2021 window in February next year.

The third and last window will be held in Clark, Pampanga from Feb. 18-22, 2021, and will be home for eight national teams, which includes Gilas Pilipinas Men.

Joining them are fellow Group A countries South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. Gilas currently leads Group A with a 3-0 record.

As proven by the recently-concluded PBA bubble, Clark could host as many as 12 teams at a time. Thus, FIBA decided that the Philippines will also host Group C, which comprise New Zealand, Australia, Guam, and Hong Kong.

They were chosen by basketball's governing body as they could capably attend to the health and travel guarantees, and could comply with FIBA health protocols. These include testing and controlled entry into a secure environment.

Other bubbles will be held in Tokyo, Japan; Manama, Bahrain, and; Doha, Qatar.

The Japanese will be home to Group B, which are Chinese Taipei, Japan, Malaysia, and China. Qatar, on the other hand, will host Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia in Group E.

Bahrain, which successfully hosted the November window, will also host two groups, namely Group D and F.

Group D will be composed of Lebanon, Bahrain, India, and Iraq, while Group F will feature Jordan, Kazakhstan, Palestine, and Sri Lanka.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas welcomed the development, as they see it as a vote of confidence from FIBA.

"We pitched for the hosting and we are elated that FIBA Asia has shown us the trust and confidence by giving it to us. In partnership with government and Clark, we will ensure a safe environment for all the countries competing in the February 2021 windows," SBP Pres. Al S. Panlilio told ESPN5.com in a message.

"We are thankful for FIBA's trust in our capacity to host not just a successful tournament but, more importantly, a safe one," Panlilio continued. "We're glad to have met their health standards and are looking forward to welcoming Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand as well as Australia, New Zealand, Guam, and Hong Kong from Group C.

"The SBP is excited to show them the same warmth of Filipino hospitality even under these difficult circumstances. We're also thankful to the PBA for sharing with us their expertise after successfully hosting the PBA Bubble and we're looking forward to working hand-in-hand with them, the involved Philippine government agencies, and other Philippine basketball stakeholders in this unique opportunity."