NEARLY two months before it plunges back into action, two burning questions are still hanging in the air— who will call the shots for Gilas Pilipinas? Who will be its new naturalized player?
These scenarios gnaw at Gilas after FIBA announced last Friday the next two windows of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers set in November and in February next year will be played under bubble-type environments.
The nationals were originally set to tackle South Korea on the road on November 27 and Thailand on November 30, before hosting Indonesia on February 18 and Korea on February 21 next year.
With the health risks and uncertainties brought about by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the world-governing body for basketball opted to hold the matches under bubbles instead of home-and-away games.
“All games of both windows should be conducted in ‘bubbles’ instead of home and away games, with the agreement of the host public health authorities and in compliance with FIBA health protocols (including PCR testing and controlled entry into a secure environment in the competition city),” FIBA said.
“Each ‘bubble’ will consist of 4 or 8 teams (one or two qualification groups). The hosts will be decided at regional level and will be announced in due course.”
The Filipinos ripped Indonesia 100-70 last Feb. 23 under interim coach Mark Dickel after their game against Thailand last Feb. 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was cancelled due to the threat posed by the lethal pulmonary disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios said last July the permanent national team tactician will be named later this year.