Manila to Host SEABA Tourney; THE SOUTHEAST Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship Has Been Moved from Thailand to the Philippines in May

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Sources said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), headed by Manny Pangilinan, has already gotten a positive response from FIBA-Asia and is merely awaiting for the official confirmation.

The development will afford home fans to watch the star-studded national team in action.

The top two finishers in the SEABA will advance in the FIBA-Asia, which serves as the Olympic qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Games.

As Olympic host, China is already qualified, the best two teams in FIBA-Asia will earn Olympic berths.

The SEABA will be the first international meet for the nationals after FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, lifted its suspension on the country, ending almost two-year absence.

"I welcome it," said national coach Chot Reyes.

The last time the county hosted the SEABA was in 2001, when the team powered by Romel Adducul scored a clean sweep. It was in 2003 when the national team played in the same tournament, which qualified them to the FIBA-Asia but placed 13th overall. …