CHINESE Taipei and Malaysia won't be fielding teams in the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Doha, Qatar.
The two nations announced their decision, citing health concerns. The decisions cast doubt on the staging of the Doha bubble, where Gilas Pilipinas is also slated to see action from February 18 to 22.
Chinese Taipei and Malaysia are bracketed in Group B, together with China and Japan, as they are part of the three groups who are set to play in Qatar.
Also scheduled to play in Doha are Group A, which consists of Gilas Pilipinas, Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia, and Group E, which has Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and host Qatar.
Both the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association, late Wednesday, and the Malaysia Basketball Association, on Thursday, made statements regarding their withdrawal, citing the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Doha where the games are scheduled to be held from Feb. 18 to 23.
Fiba has earlier cancelled the game between Guam and Hong Kong, which was scheduled in Manama, Bahrain, due to fresh travel restrictions in the country.
This latest wave of pullouts put the last window of the qualifiers in doubt as Qatar tries its best to contain the recent wave of outbreaks.
Gilas Pilipinas is scheduled to depart for Doha on Saturday, although it's now unclear if any of those plans can still push through.