The media availability inside the Quest Hotel during the PBA bubble. PBA Images

The media coverage for the third leg of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers is still open for discussion as the country prepares to host the tournament in February next year in Clark, Pampanga.

“I don’t want to dampen the expectation of our media friends, but we have to be ready for FIBA Asia not to allow media,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barios in a virtual joint press conference Saturday.

The possibility of live coverage by sportswriters and reporters remains hanging amid the surging cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

In the PBA, for instance, the league has allowed five select scribes from the Manila Bulletin, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star, Daily Tribune and and the television crew from broadcast partner One Sports to cover the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup live at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center from October to early December.

The media, alongside PBA players and staff, were part of the 350-man delegation accommodated at Quest Hotel in Mimosa.

After each game, the league allowed a press conference with proper observation of social distancing.

Sportswriters monitoring the PBA outside of the bubble were instead encouraged to join the press conference virtually via Zoom.

But the SBP has yet to finalize such setups for the virtual media coverage in the FIBA qualifiers.

“That’s something we will have to clarify with FIBA Asia and we will let everybody know in due time,” said Barios.

Window 3 of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers is slated from Feb. 18 to 21 next year with Clark as one of the four cities chosen to stage the qualifying tournament.

Gilas Pilipinas, leading with a 3-0 record, is set to host Group A composed of South Korea (2-0), Indonesia (1-2) and Thailand (0-4) while teams in Group C, Australia, New Zealand, Guam and Hong Kong, will also meet in Clark. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (