Our motto is peace through basketball, reminds FIBA-Asia Secretary General


MANILA -- Groupings for the 27th FIBA-Asia championship have been already determined.

The Philippine national basketball team is bracketed in Group A together with Jordan, Chinese-Taipei and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The ongoing political unrest involving Philippines and Chinese-Taipei, and the fact that the two teams are grouped together in the preliminary round of the Asian joust did not get past one member of the press who asked FIBA-Asia Secretary General Hagop Khajirian to comment on the said issue.

"Our motto is peace through basketball. There is no place for discrimination in race, gender or politics here," Khajirian said in brevity.

The FIBA-Asia Secretary General is aware of the existing tension between Chinese-Taipei and Philippines, but he clarified that the upcoming 27th FIBA-Asia Championship is not the proper venue to settle whatever needs to be worked out on by the two countries in political conflict.

Only recently, the Chinese-Taipei Basketball Association withdrew their William Jones Cup invitation to the Philippines citing that they cannot guarantee the team's safety in Taiwan.

The spat between the two countries stemmed from the killing of a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman several nautical miles of Balintang Island in the Luzon Strait.

There is no way that the said incident is connected to the upcoming FIBA-Asia tournament, which the Chinese-Taipei team is a qualified participatant. The East Asian squad went through the proper process and qualified for the tourney having been one of the four best placed teams in the previous FIBA-Asia Cup (excluding the champion team and the host country).

The draw that was held earlier today at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel was attended by SBP Executives Renauld Barrios, Oscar Moreno, Victorico Vargas and Deputy CEO of the Local Organizing Committee Mauricio Martelino. Also present were several members of the Philippine team that won gold in the 1973 staging of the games, which was then known as the Asian Basketball Confederation.

Japan, Qatar, Lebanon and Hong Kong comprise Group B.

While Group C, which many analysts are saying is the Group of Death, has China, Korea, Iran and a yet to be determined Southeast Asian qualifier.

Group D, meanwhile, will have Kazakhstan, India, Bahrain and another Southeast Asian team.


Kali Quiñones Kali Quiñones Sports Desk Online Editor
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