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    SBP to meet PBA on Gilas formation for OQT, hopes for Kouame availability

    Feb 26, 2021
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) plans to sit down with the PBA hierarchy to map out plans on how to form and train a Gilas Pilipinas team that was just given the green light to compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

    At the same time, the cage body hopes Ange Kouame’s naturalization papers will finally be completed by the time the qualifier in Belgrade is held from June 29 to July 4.

    “We will be coordinating with the PBA to plot our plans moving forward. And we’re hopeful that Ange Kouame’s naturalization will be signed into law by then to give Gilas Pilipinas men that added boost it needs to be more competitive,” said SBP President Al S. Panlilio.

    On Friday night, FIBA announced the Philippines has been given a slot for the Serbia qualifier after the last-minute pull-out of New Zealand in the six-day meet.

    The country was selected based on being the next best ranked team from the Asia-Oceania region that hasn’t booked a berth in the Olympics yet.

    Continue reading below ↓

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    On Friday night, FIBA announced the Philippines has been given a slot for the Serbia qualifier after the last-minute pull-out of New Zealand in the six-day meet.

    The country was selected based on being the next best ranked team from the Asia-Oceania region that hasn’t booked a berth in the Olympics.

    Continue reading below ↓

    Nonetheless, the SBP welcomed the latest development after likewise competing in a same Olympic Qualifying meet hosted by the country in 2016 for the Rio De Janeiro Games.

    “This is truly a welcome development and we’re very happy that Gilas Pilipinas will be given a chance to compete for a spot in the Olympics,” said Panlilio.

    “Our Chairman Emeritus had a conversation with Andreas Zagklis, secretary general of FIBA, who informed him of the development and MVP was very pleased with the news.”

    Serbia will be hosting Group A in Belgrade along with the Philippines and the Dominican Republic from June 29 to July 1.

    Meanwhile, bunched in Group B are Italy, Puerto Rico, and Senegal.

    The top two teams in each group will then meet in a crossover semifinals, and the two surviving teams clashing in a one-game final for a berth in the Tokyo Olympics.

    Aside from Belgrade, three other Olympic qualifiers will be held during that same stretch in Kaunas, Lithuania, Victoria, Canada, and Split, Croatia.

    Continue reading below ↓

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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