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FIBA launches virtual basketball

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THE International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is going digital with its first ever international esports competition dubbed FIBA ESports Open 2020 on June 19-21, 2020 in Riga, Latvia.

The Philippine Gilas Team has join the 17-team competition along with Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Cyprus, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Under the rules, FIBA said each team will be made up of seven players — five on the court and two reserves – with the games will be played remotely on NBA 2K using the Pro-AM mode. Full customization of player avatars, uniforms and arena designs are allowed.

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The entire FIBA Esports Open 2020 series will be produced from the brand-new FIBA Esports Studio situated in Riga, Latvia, with a daily four-hour show featuring up to six games. Each game will be shown via livestream on FIBA’s Facebook, Twitch and YouTube channels with live commentary in English.

“FIBA is extremely proud and excited to start its esports journey with the FIBA Esports Open 2020, a pilot project of exhibition games between national teams in collaboration with NBA 2K,” said Frank Leenders, FIBA Media and Marketing Services Director General, in an official statement emailed to international press over the weekend.

“The esports initiative was identified by the FIBA Central Board as important and consistent with the strategic objective to enlarge the FIBA Family. In these challenging times, we feel encouraged by the enthusiasm of some of our National Federations who are already active in this space and have been our charter partners during the last few months,” he said.

“NBA 2K is honored to partner with FIBA in creating the FIBA Esports Open 2020. Through these matches, we’re excited to be able to celebrate the global appeal of basketball,” said  Jason Argent, Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations at 2K.

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