Gilas to bring in Blatche instead of Clarkson for FIBA OQT— MVP

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The basketball qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay from July 5 to 10.

Playing in the Manila Olympic Qualifier are Philippines, New Zealand, Senegal, Canada, and Turkey.

Senegal, Turkey and Canada are in Group A, while Philippines, France and New Zealand are in Group B.

Gilas Pilipinas is currently preparing for the FIBA tournament, but there is still no final roster who will play in the Olympic qualifiers.

Related: France, Canada join Gilas in Manila Olympic Qualifier

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During a press conference on Tuesday (April 12), local organizing committee (LOC) chairman Manny V. Pangilinan said they would need "to field the best players available."

"There is no doubt that Gilas will face tough competition there," he said. "I am confident we will be getting the support we desire from the PBA."

Pangilinan also revealed that Andray Blatche would suit up for the national team — not Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers.

"We are leaning towards bringing in Andray Blatche instead of Jordan Clarkson," he said. "Blatche is already on board. The contract has been signed."

The LOC chairman also said the decision to bring in Blatche came after FIBA made it clear that Gilas could only have either Blatche or Clarkson, and not both.

“The arrangements with Jordan will be a bit more complicated," he added. “So I think we are leaning towards Blatche, because given the time pressure, the time constraint, that's probably a simpler situation for us."

Pangilinan added Gilas would need the "Blatche of Spain, not the Blatche of China."

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios said he expects Blatche to come to Manila in tip-top shape.

Also read: Gilas coach not counting out New Zealand

P200M to host Manila OQT

The last time the country hosted a FIBA tournament was in 2013, when Gilas Pilipinas finished second place in the FIBA Asia Championship.

Pangilinan said they are pleased to host another FIBA competition this year.

"Everybody is quite happy that the Philippines will be one of the hosts of the FIBA OQT," he said.

He also said the cost to stage the international tournament here in Manila would amount to more than P200 million.

"I would say we are spending north of P200 million," he said. "That's how much we love this country."

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Barrios earlier said Gilas' chances of winning the tournament are slim. But he also said "you can't discount the factor of our Sixth Man," referring to the hometown crowd expected to watch the games.

"At the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, we saw how our team was inspired by the homecrowd. For the first time in FIBA history, we witnessed the wave. No one was surprised when at the FIBA World Cup in 2014, the Philippines was named the country with the Most Valuable Fans," he said.

"It's the first time we're hosting an Olympic qualifying tournament. We played in an Olympic qualifier in 1964 in Yokohoma but we didn't make it to Tokyo. Now, we're hosting and it will make a big difference."

FIBA OQT ticket prices released

The SBP revealed the tickets for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila will go on sale starting April 26.

The tournament will run from July 5 to 10. Each day, two games will be played — one at 6:30 p.m. and another at 9 p.m.

The tickets prices for the regular games are:

  • VIP: P10,000
  • Patron: P8,500
  • Lower Box: P6,500
  • Upper Box: P400
  • General Admission: P200

In the semifinals, the ticket prices will be:

  • VIP: P12,000
  • Patron: P10,000
  • Lower Box: P8,000
  • Upper Box: P400
  • Gen. Ad: P200

For the OQT finals, the ticket prices are:

  • VIP: P14,000
  • Patron: P12,000
  • Lower Box: P10,000
  • Upper Box: P400
  • Gen Ad: P200

The organizers said people can also avail of season passes with the following prices:

  • VIP: P47,000
  • Patron: P39,500
  • Lower Box: P31,500

However, since there will be a high demand for tickets for the FIBA tournament, the organizers are considering a lottery system to release the tickets.

CNN Philippines' Paolo del Rosario contributed to this report.