DESPITE THE CORONAVIRUS disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic being a going concern in the country and continues to disrupt various affairs, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still performing its duties, the group’s officials said.
Served as guests at Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios and Director for Operations Butch Antonio said the past months with quarantine restrictions have made doing their job challenging but it has not stopped the local basketball federation from attending to various matters.
“We can say it has been a busy lockdown for the SBP,” Mr. Antonio said.
Among the concerns the SBP is attending to is making sure that stakeholders affected by the pandemic are taken care of.
Mr. Barrios shared that even before stakeholders asked for help, the federation already met and brainstormed on possible assistance it can give.
The SBP agreed to give P150,000 each for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, which federation officials there distributed to members, like referees and table officials. A maximum amount of P3,000 was given to members so as more people could benefit.
Mr. Barrios was happy to report that the response to the effort was positive.
The SBP officials also shared that training continues for their various stakeholders albeit done online as big gatherings are still prohibited under existing measures put up by the government to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Webinars involving game officials and coaches had been conducted and are set to happen, the SBP said.
The SBP also held a videoconference in May with other sports federations where they shared inputs on how sports can return.
Recently, the federation was busy rallying behind the Philippine esports team, “E-Gilas,” that competed in the inaugural FIBA Esports Open and swept all of its games against Indonesia to win the Southeast Asian conference.
Messrs. Barrios and Antonio said the basketball body is high on the potential of esports basketball for the country and that they will try to further incorporate the sport in their program.
3X3 OQT AND OTHER COMPETITIONS
Meanwhile, Mr. Antonio said they are continuously planning for competitions that the country will be participating in, including the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in May next year, despite the uncertainty concerning COVID-19.
“We are planning for that (3×3 OQT). We have a steering committee for it. We will convene once there is already a firm and detailed plan for the resumption of practices from the government,” the SBP operations director said.
The same goes for Gilas Pilipinas, which is competing in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
The SBP is currently monitoring the situation in relation to the tournament and is ready to adjust as needed.
The Philippines sports a 1-0 record in the qualifiers and is scheduled to play Korea and Thailand in Group A action in November.
Also at the PSA Forum, the SBP officials shared that the country’s preparations for the FIBA World Cup 2023, which the Philippines is hosting along with Japan and Indonesia, are unhampered by the current conditions with the pandemic.
“We are constantly in communication with FIBA and our counterparts in Japan and Indonesia. We have regular videoconferences with them, discussing various matters like financial models, marketing and the directions to take,” said Mr. Barrios.
He went on to say that among the early things they have agreed on is the event logo, which is now up for FIBA approval and they plan to unveil sometime in September.
“Times are tough but the SBP is working to keep basketball relevant. Our programs will continue with the safety of everyone, of course, in prime consideration,” said Mr. Antonio as he reiterated the federation’s commitment to the sport and its development. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo