Foiled the last time out, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is leaving no stone unturned in its no-nonsense bid to secure the hosting rights for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan said they are doing their level best to help the joint bid of the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan earn the right to host world’s biggest basketball spectacle.
For sure, the telecommunications mogul is eager to earn some measure of pride after the country fell short in its initial bid for the 2019 World Cup edition which FIBA awarded to Mainland China two years ago.
“If there is any legacy that I’d like to leave in the sport of basketball, it’s that the Philippines will, after so many years, we’ll have the center of attention in the world in the sport of basketball,” said Pangilinan, fondly called as “MVP” in sports and business circles.
Under the setup, the Philippines will serve as the main host of the 32-team World Cup, with Indonesia and Japan providing the satellite venues where preliminary games will be played.
Several preliminary games will also be played in the Philippines, which will be the main battleground come the knockout quarterfinal matches until the championship game.
Latin American countries Argentina and Uruguay have also made a joint bid for the 2023 edition. FIBA will announce its decision on Dec. 9 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Russia and Turkey, two other countries that were in contention, have both withdrawn their respective bids last week after the initial meeting with FIBA officials last month.
But Pangilinan is keeping a guarded optimism about the country’s chances.
“Well, I’m guardedly optimistic, and I’m cautiously optimistic,” said the long-time basketball patron who was in attendance during Gilas Pilipinas’ hard-earned 90-83 win over Asian rival Chinese Taipie last Monday in the opening window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
“Siyempre, the president of FIBA (Horacio Muratore) is Argentinian although I’m sure he’ll recuse himself. More importantly the Pope (Francis) is Argentinian right? So God must be on their side,” added Pangilinan.
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