The Smart Gilas Pilipinas has gained an inside track of winning back the FIBA Asia Champions Cup after FIBA Asia granted the request of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to host the 22nd edition of the event.
SBP executive director Noli Eala said he got the confirmation to host the event through an email sent by FIBA Asia secretary general Dato Yeoh.
He also added that they’re planning to stage the annual tournament in the middle of May.
The FIBA Asia Championship could well serve as one of Gilas’ preparations for the FIBA Asia Championship, a qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics, set this September in Wuhan, China.
Each squad will be allowed to enlist two imports, thus making Marcus Douthit eligible to play should his naturalization documents won’t be finalized by the time the tournament starts.
Yeoh's deputy secretary general Hagop Khajirian is scheduled to visit Manila on Jan. 19 for an ocular inspection of the venues.
He will also hold formal talks with SBP officials led by president Manny V. Pangilinan to finalize the arrangements.
The SBP earlier made a formal bid to host the Asian Championships but lost to the Chinese province.
The Philippines and Iran are the winningest countries in the event with four title each. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Champions_Cup)
However, the last time the country won the event was in 1996 when Hapee Toothpaste, reinforced by former PBA imports Tony Harris and Bobby Parks and coached by Junel Baculi, defeated Japan's Isuzu Lynx, 77-74, at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
In 2005, Qatar's Al-Rayyan defeated Jordan's Fastlink, 83-76, to win the title held at the Araneta Coliseum. The all-pro PH national team settled for fifth place after losing to Fastlink in the quarterfinals.