By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Korean men’s national basketball team will no longer fly to the Philippines after backing out of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
In an announcement made by the Korea Basketball Association (KBA), the men’s national squad decided not to join in the February window of the tournament due to their COVID-19 woes.
One member of their national team tested positive after their respective tests last Monday that left the entire team as first contacts.
Despite standing firm with their decision of forfeiting the FIBA February window, the KBA also shared that they understand the consequences and they are willing to receive the possible sanctions against them.
Korea was supposed to play against Gilas Pilipinas, New Zealand, and India in their group pool but had to shift schedules due to their sudden exit.
A highly anticipated rematch was supposed to happen after the young Gilas cadets swept the mighty Korean team during the last qualifying bubble.
Led by young bloods Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto, Ange Kouame, SJ Belangel, Jordan Heading, Carl Tamayo, and RJ Abarrientos, the team orchestrated by former head coach Tab Baldwin surpassed everyone’s expectations and even swept their pool with Korea.
Now with the current Gilas program under the new mentorship of former chief tactician Chot Reyes, a new team comprised of Thirdy Ravena, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Ramos, and a bunch of TNT Tropang Giga players will seek to reign supreme and end the February window on a high note.