ALL eyes will be on the PBA when it resumes its Philippine Cup in a bubble environment next month in Pampanga.
Among those who would be keenly observing the PBA are the Philippines’ neighboring countries and, most importantly, FIBA.
According to Commissioner Willie Marcial, the basketball world governing wants a place where it can resume the Asia Cup qualifying tournaments and the PBA sites at the Clark Freeport and Economic Zone and Angeles University Foundation gym are prime contenders.
“Nagmamasid ‘yung FIBA,” Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight.
“May nagsabi sa akin, hinhintay daw — kasi hindi naman direktang sinabi sa akin — tinitingnan daw ng FIBA. Kapag naging successful, baka puwedeng madale dito.”
Games in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifying windows have been suspended since the coronavirus outbreak in late February. Those include five more games by the Philippines, which is bracketed in Group A along with South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand.
More windows are set in November, but SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said in an earlier interview that those games may likely all be pushed back and played out with the other window games in February.
Also, those games would all be played in a kind of bubble which the NBA started and the PBA is emulating in its own style of having billeting inside Clark and practicing and playing games at the AUF.
The question of where FIBA chooses to conduct its Asia Cup qualifying bubble remains, however.
At first glance and judging by the number of COVID cases among Gilas Pilipinas’ groupmates, the Philippines would be an unlikely candidate for having one of the highest COVID cases in the region.
In contrast, Thailand and South Korea both appear to be among the most successful not only in the continent but also in the world in containing and battling the virus with fewer cases and deaths.
That is perhaps the main reason why Indonesia men’s basketball team manager Farez Tamrella told BolaSkor.com recently that Thailand may be the venue for the ACQ.