It’s a go

February 18, 2020

PH-Indonesia Asia qualifier will be played as scheduled in Jakarta.

ON orders of the world governing body in basketball, the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Indonesia in the opening window of the Fiba Asia qualifiers will be played as scheduled on Feb.23 in Jakarta.

The International Basketball Federation has ordered the Indonesian Basketball Federation to proceed with the holding of the qualifiers starting with its game against South Korea on Feb. 20 after determining that “there exist no exceptional circumstances warranting the postponement of the Games”.

Indonesian officials had earlier written Fiba asking for a postponement of the games they are hosting due to the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, which has forced the cancellation of a long list of scheduled tournaments especially in China.

The development came as the Filipino cagers completed another day of practice on Monday night, which interim coach Mark Dickel described as “very good”.

“They’ve taken real steps forward in what we’re running, how we’re trying to run it,” Dickel told sportswriters after the workout. “So now, it’s all heading in the right direction.”

Nineteen players, led by team captain Kiefer Ravena, pro league veterans Poy Erram, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy, attended the Monday night practice.

Although Gilas will be represented by a young team mostly made up of PBA rookies and UAAP standouts, it is still favored to beat an Indonesian squad which the country has traditionally dominated in regional tournaments.

Despite that, Dickel is not taking the enemy for granted.

“Just watch the games they had at the SEA Games. They are really well organized,” said Dickel of the team handled by former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman.

“They’ve got good players, so we know they’re gonna come intense and be ready, and believe from the start of the game that they can win. So we have to adjust from the start, and do the same,” he added.

In its letter sent to the Indonesian basketball body, Fiba acknowledged seriously contemplating on their request as there is a need to protect the health and safety of the players and other participants, especially following the request  of the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the games until further confirmation on health security is received from the Ministry of Health.

But Fiba noted that the letter from the Indonesian Ministry of Health focuses mainly on travel to and from the mainland China, which cannot be a consideration with respect to teams traveling from South Korea and the Philippines.

“Moreover, Indonesia has no reported cases of COVID-19,” Fiba said in its letter.