Hosting the ongoing Fiba Asia Championship, the country’s latest attempt to return to world-class basketball, comes with a stiff price tag: P70 million.
Reliable sources at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas said the host association allotted the amount for the duration of the Aug. 1 to 11 tournament where the top three teams qualify to the Fiba World Cup in Madrid next year.
The amount is part of the SBP’s reported P500-million budget for basketball development this year.
The Fiba Asia tournament budget is more than double the P30-million earmarked by the Philippine Sports Commission for the country’s participation in the Myanmar (Burma) Southeast Asian Games.
The Philippines is seeking to regain the title it last won in 1985 in Malaysia when the tournament was still known as the Asian Basketball Championship. The country also ruled the event when it was last held in Manila in 1973.
Lebanon actually won the right to stage this year’s Fiba Asia but the event was moved to the Philippines due to conflict in the Middle Eastern nation. An acknowledged power in the event, Lebanon was later suspended by the Fiba and missed this year’s tournament due to squabbles in its basketball federation.