Gilas Pilipnas during training on February 20, 2020. REQUEST PHOTO / TRISTAN TAMAYO

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines have pledged to compete in the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia following New Zealand’s withdrawal from competition.

The world basketball governing body announced on Friday that Gilas Pilipinas will head to OQT to be the next best team in the Asia-Oceania region rankings after New Zealand decided not to participate due to the rising costs of sending a team overseas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is truly a welcome development and we are very happy that Gilas Pilipinas Men has the chance to compete for a place in the Olympics,” said Samahang Basketbol President of Pilipinas President Al S. Panlilio in a statement. .

“Our President Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan had a conversation with Andreas Zagklis, FIBA ​​General Secretary, who briefed him on the development and MVP was very pleased with the news.

SBP also pledged to send the best list for qualifying, which grants slots for the Tokyo Olympics delayed by the coronavirus, from June 29 to July 1.

The national team is grouped with the host Serbia and Dominican Republic in group A.

“Whenever we participate in international tournaments, we always aim to send the best team possible to make our Filipino fans proud,” also said Panlilio, who is hopeful that naturalization candidate Angelo Kouame can join the team at here there.

Kouame’s candidacy for Filipino citizenship has just been adopted this week by the Senate justice committee.

“We will coordinate with the PBA to map out our plans to move forward and we hope that the naturalization of Ange Kouame will be signed by then to give Gilas Pilipinas Men that extra boost he needs to be. more competitive, ”said Panlilio.

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