HK out; NZ game still on for Sunday -1

GEARING UP FOR NZ: In this file photo, the Bank of Guam Men's National Basketball Team celebrates after defeating Malaysia during the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers. The Guam Basketball Confederation officially canceled the game against Hong Kong, citing COVID-19 concerns. However, the team will still play New Zealand on Sunday at the University of Guam Calvo Field House. Photo courtesy of FIBA

With a FIBA qualification tournament between Bank of Guam Men’s National Basketball Team vs. Hong Kong Men’s National Team just five days away, sponsor Guam Visitors Bureau recommended on Saturday to postpone, or cancel the event.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Guam Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and management recommends the postponement or cancellation of the Guam Basketball Confederation's FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier,” said GVB in a news release. “While we are supportive of the event as a sponsor, we are very concerned about the event’s timing as the world deals with the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and the long term effect this will have on our source markets.

“We are looking out for the best interests of our people and feel that if this qualifier were to continue, it may damage Guam’s brand. Our decision comes out of strong concerns as cancellations to Guam continue from our visitor markets due to this worldwide health issue. We must work to ensure our visitor arrivals do not take a major hit going forward.”

The 2019 novel coronavirus, which originated in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 67,000 people, resulting in 1,526 deaths.

There are 57 cases of the virus in Hong Kong, resulting in one death.

It is unclear if Thursday night’s game against Hong Kong has been canceled.

An attempt was made by The Guam Daily Post to receive comments from Guam Basketball Federation and FIBA but has not received word from either organization.

Bank of Guam, the island’s national team’s title sponsor, has also been contacted but has not yet responded.

This is a developing story.