An undermanned Korean national men’s basketball team will show up in Manila on Tuesday as more players have tested positive for COVID-19, leaving just 11 cagers without symptoms of the virus when their 14-day bubble training camp in Goyang ended Friday.
A seventh unidentified player tested positive for the virus, while four others have complained of symptoms and were advised not to join the trip to Manila for the coming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers next week.
Among the replacements named were Doo Kyungmin, Byeon Junhyeong Lee Jaedo, Lee Junghyun, An Youngjun, Lee Kwanhee, Lee Seunghyun, Kang Sangjae and Jang Jaeseok –all belonging to club teams playing in the Korean Basketball league.
“Three to four members are showing symptoms. We are bracing for the worst probability of not having even 10 healthy players for the tournament,” said the Korean Basketball Association in a statement.
The coaching staff, headed by Cho Sang Yun, is revising the roster again and is set to name four new players to the team.
Because of the alarming number of cases, the Goyang camp was halted and the remaining healthy players were told to go into isolation.
A fine is set by FIBA for late changes done to a national roster, but the KBA said it is willing to shoulder the penalty, which host Philippines and the international federation could set.
“It is difficult to even form a 12-man team due to the latest infections. I am just hoping there will be no more infections,” said Cho.
Basketball officials in Korea have been discovering positive COVID cases in the national squad after RT-PCR tests were done on Wednesday before prospective members of the team entered a training bubble in Goyang.
Among those who were replaced from the 14-man pool were COVID-infected Moon Seonggon, Lee Seonghyun, Heo Hoon, Lee Woosuk, Kim Jongkyu and Ricardo Ratliffe.
Choi Junyong is recovering from a sprained right ankle.
Gilas will meet Korea twice on February 24 and 28.
Then, the Philippines will clash with India on February 25 and then confront New Zealand on the 27th.