February 15 ------ Gilas Pilipinas hosting of Thailand for the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers will likely be rescheduled to a later date due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Inquirer has learned. “The game here in the Philippines, as things stand, is 90% canceled,” said the insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “There’s already a memo out.” This was after the Department of Health urged the public to “avoid attending, participating in, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees.” The Nationals were set to play the Thais at Smart Araneta Coliseum Quezon City on Feb. 20 to kick off Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the tournament that features Asia’s old powerhouses and Oceania’s top guns.
Gilas Pilipinas is also scheduled to face Indonesia on the road on Feb. 23. “Though the match against Indonesia may still push through,” the source said, adding that the Indonesian government has yet to issue an advisory. “Fiba is very sensitive with [countries’ respective] governments.” The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the PBA have yet to issue a statement. Asked for comment, team manager Gabby Cui told the Inquirer that there has been “no confirmation yet” of the development. On Monday, the Philippine Basketball Association also announced that it was resetting its opening days for its 45th season and the D-League, from Mar. 1 to Mar 8, and Feb. 13 to Mar. 2, respectively. The UAAP has also postponed all the second-semester events starting Feb. 15. The country’s hosting of the Asian Para Games was also suspended indefinitely, the Philippine Paralympic Committee revealed on Tuesday.