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Smart Gilas vs Kuwait
« on: October 26, 2010, 11:54:32 PM »
By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer

It’s Kuwait, not Saudi Arabia, that the Smart Gilas national five will have to hurdle first to keep its basketball campaign going in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China next month.

Saudi Arabia withdrew recently from the Asiad, prompting Fiba Asia to tap Kuwait as replacement, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Noli Eala bared on Monday.

The Nationals will meet Kuwait on November 13 with the winner joining defending champion Iran, Qatar, Japan, Chinese Taipei, along with the survivor of the Afghanistan-India knockout clash, in Group F in the second round.

The development favors Smart Gilas since it will get a chance to test Kuwait in two tune-up games in Manila on November 4 and 5.

Meanwhile, the country’s bid to host the 2011 Fiba Asia Championship got a new lease on life after Fiba Asia officials recently withdrew from Beirut, Lebanon, the hosting rights for the continent’s Olympic qualifier.

Eala said the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) is now looking for a new host after Lebanese officials failed to impress the sport’s governing body during the Fiba Asia Stankovic Cup, also held in Beirut in August.

The winner of the 2011 Fiba Asia tournament will represent the continent in the 2012 London Olympics, the main target of the Smart Gilas national team now preparing for the Asian Games next month in Guangzhou.

Aside from the Asian championship, the SBP also wants to stage the 2011 Fiba Asia Champions Cup, a tournament featuring the best club teams in the continent.

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