THE new chapter for Gilas Pilipinas will have to wait a little longer as games in the first window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers have been postponed, sources said.
Spin.ph sources bared that the home game between the Philippines and Thailand at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Feb. 20 has been shelved following the government's warning on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Aside from that, Gilas' road game against Indonesia, slated on Feb. 23, has also been postponed.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and FIBA have yet to issue statements on these schedule changes.
Officials of SBP said they have yet to be advised of any changes to the schedule by Fiba.
The Department of Health (DOH) has earlier issued an advisory asking organizers to refrain from holding concerts, events, and other mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 scare.
That led to a number of sporting events in the country postponing their ongoing and upcoming tournaments.
No definite date has been given on when the games will push through, although the same source said that Fiba and the SBP are looking at staging the games in March.
Spin.ph has tried to contact SBP to further shed light on this matter, but its officials have yet to respond to querries at posting time.
A 24-man Gilas pool formed by the SBP for the two games has been preparing for two weeks now under interim coach Mark Dickel.
The PBA, where most of the players in the pool belong, has already postponed the opening of its new season by one week to March 8.
Fiba had earlier postponed the Group B clash between China and Malaysia, set on Feb. 24, and has swapped the hosting for Hong Kong's supposed home games against Group C rivals Guam on Feb. 20 and Australia on Feb 24.