EXPECT foreign virtual fans among those watching the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) disclosed that it will be opening the country’s hosting of the qualifiers to interested fans within the Asia Oceania zone.
Cignal TV Inc. vice-president for channel and content Siena Olaso is the one tasked by the SBP to handle the distribution of the link for virtual fans.
“We will open it up,” said SBP president Al S. Panlilio about accepting virtual fans outside of the country to watch the Clark bubble qualifiers from Feb. 18 to 21.
With fans not allowed to watch the games live, the PBA accepted virtual fans during the Philippine Cup bubble as they watch the games from the comfort of their homes and are shown on television during live broadcasts.
At the same time, the four-day FIBA event that will see the country hosting two groups of the qualifiers, is going to be livestreamed straight from the Angeles University Foundation gym.
“FIBA-Asia asked permission to livestream the games which we (SBP) allowed,” added Panlilio.
FIBA-Asia apparently wanted to follow PBA Philippine Cup bubble model where all games were livestreamed directly from the AUF venue, including the best-of-seven finals.
In the five games of the finals alone, the league averaged 1.5 million viewers per game.
The SBP noted that no less than Fiba Asia executive director Hagop Khajirian brought up the livestream idea so fans from other countries can watch the games.
“It will be livestreamed also to the Middle East because SecGen Hagop of Fiba Asia requested it so that Middle East teams will see the brand of basketball in Southeast Asia,” said Panlilio.
The SBP added the thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and other Filipinos outside of the country will be able to watch Gilas Pilipinas play South Korea and Indonesia in Group A of the qualifiers.
Also arriving in the country for the short tournament are Thailand (Group A) and Group C members Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Guam.