MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas will return to the Philippine Arena for the first time since the infamous 2018 brawl to play in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February 2023.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, November 15.
“[Philippine Arena] will be one of the three venues for the World Cup, so as much as possible, we should play there,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios told reporters.
“It’s like the local organizing committee will be undergoing an internship if we host in our different venues,” he added.
Gilas will look to defend home court against FIBA Asia Cup silver medalists Lebanon on February 24, 2023, and Jordan on February 27.
The hosting of the 55,000-seater venue will serve as a test run when it holds the final stage of the World Cup, which will stretch from the quarterfinals until the gold medal match.
On the other hand, four arenas will host the 32-team group phase, namely the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, the Okinawa Arena in Japan, and the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta.
The Philippines, which sports a 5-3 record in Group E, recently swept its Middle Eastern trip during the fifth window against Jordan and Saudi Arabia. – Rappler.com