The Federation Internationale de Basketball Association (FIBA) has suspended indefinitely Lebanon, a team which is a perennial threat in the FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball championship.
In a report, the world’s basketball governing body said it suspended Lebanon because of squabbles within the country’s federation.
Ironically, the current FIBA Asia secretary-General, Hagop Khajirian, is from Lebanon.
The suspension forced Lebanon out of the FIBA Asia championship, which starts Aug. 1 in Manila. Lebanon’s slot will be filled up by Iraq, which finished fourth in the West Asian qualifying last February.
Lebanon has been runner-up three times in the FIBA Asia tilt since 1999.
The news of the suspension dampened the spirit the Lebanese five competing in the Jones Cup in Taiwan, as they lost to Jordan, 67-69, last Friday.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan said preparations for the 27th FIBA-Asia Championship are 90 percent compelete.
“The people involved in the preparations updated us and it looks like things are going well, Pangilinan said.
“There will be some loose ends that will need to be tied up, such as the schedule of the arrival of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann and President Yvan Mainini. We are organizing welcome dinner as well as a courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino,” he said.
Pangilinan is celebrating his 67th birthday Sunday, gave the home team “a decent chance of making it to the top three” in the tournament.
”But win or lose, our hosting of FIBA Asia is a tribute to Philippine basketball, the SBP, and the country,” he said.
Gilas Pilipinas will be composed of 6’11 Marcus Douthit, 6’10 June Mar Fajardo, 6’10 Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris and Gabe Norwood, who stand at least 6-5.
The rest of the team are Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Larry Fonacier, Gary David and Jeff Chan.