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All systems go for Olympic Qualifiers
by rick olivares
Manila, Philippines. It’s all systems go for the Philippines’ hosting of the Olympic Basketball Qualifying Tournament from July 5-10, 2016.
Manuel V. Pangilinan, President of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, during the press con that officially kicked off the Olympic Qualifying Tournament activities at the Peninsula Manila Conservatory, promised an event for the Philippines and the world to remember and be proud of.” The SBP, along with television coveror TV5, and other sponsors, are pulling out all the stops to surpass the hosting of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships.
The Philippines is one of the three last roads to the Rio Olympics for six countries. Standing in the Filipinos’ way are world cage powers France (ranked fifth in the world) and New Zealand (21st) who along with the home side comprise Group B.
Over at Group A are Turkey (8th), Canada (26th), and Senegal (31st).
The other qualifiers will be simultaneously held at Turin, Italy as well as Belgrade, Serbia. The winners from all three qualifiers wil join the first nine qualifiers in the Rio Summer Olympics this coming August.
Pangilinan also bared that naturalized American Andray Blatche will be suiting up for Gilas and should arrive soon. Fil-American hoopster Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers was disallowed by FIBA from suiting up saying that we could not suit up both. “Blatche is better suited for the team since height is a concern,” explained the SBP President. “I wanted to have both but I tried.”
Local organizing committee ( chief Al Panlilio also bared the SBP is looking into tapping cinemas in the provinces to also show the matches. The LOC is also looking into fielding wide screens LCDs in parking lots and other venues just to accomodate fans.
“The tickets will be sold starting on April 26,” added Panlilio. “There will be an allocation for local fans as well as the foreigners who will be coming over."
The Gilas Pilipinas will be playing its games at 9pm versus France on July 5 and New Zealand on July 6.