Philippines bids to host 2013 FIBA-Asia ChampionshipBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will be working hand in glove when the cage body lobbies for the country’s hosting of the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship next week.
PBA Commissioner Chito Salud confirmed he’ll form part of the delegation that leaves for Tokyo, Japan, on September 18 to make a case before executives of FIBA-Asia about the Philippines’ capability to host an event as big as the qualifier for the 2014 FIBA-World Championships.
Salud will be accompanied by an important group of Filipino basketball officials traveling to the Japanese capital for the country’s presentation of its hosting bid. The SBP will be led by president Manny V. Pangilinan, vice chairman Ricky Vargas, executive director Sonny Barrios, and former FIBA-Asia secretary general Moying Martelino.
“I intend to impress upon our leaders in FIBA-Asia that the PBA is one with the SBP in its quest to regain basketball supremacy here in Asia,” said Salud, who will also be joined by PBA Governors Chairman Robert Non, Vice-chairman Ramon Segismundo, and Treasurer Ely Capacio. “Unequivocal is our support of SBP’s quest to host the FIBA-Asia qualifying tournament here in 2013 and we want to make sure (FIBA-Asia) secretary-general Hagop Khajirian of Lebanon gets that message.”
Iran and late entry Japan are also bidding to host the 2013 FIBA-Asia meet.
Khajirian recently visited the country for an ocular inspection of the Mall of Asia Arena and was impressed with the NBA patterned megastructure.
The country hosted the inaugural staging of the biennial meet in 1960 when it was still known as the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship. A five-time winner—second in the history of the event—the Philippine last hosted the cagefest in 1973.
Salud believes Filipino basketball fans are excited about the prospect of bringing the FIBA-Asia championship here after Smart Gilas-Pilipinas II conquered the 34th William Jones Cup basketball tournament in Taipei recently.
He said the country’s chances of qualifying for the FIBA-World Championship in Spain two years from now would be even better if the meet is held here given the expected hot reception of the local fans and considering that the top three teams earn outright berths to the tournament many consider as the Olympics of basketball.
“We in the PBA stand side by side with FIBA and the SBP in making sure that Asian basketball is developed to its peak,” added Salud.
The effort of the commissioner to help the SBP in its hosting bid is the second major support Asia’s pioneering basketball league has extended to the country’s governing body in basketball under Salud’s watch. The first was allowing the lending of 20 pro players to the national training pool, which later formed the core of the Philippine team handled by coach Chot Reyes.
The Nationals embark on yet another campaign as they see action in the FIBA Asia Cup (formerly known as the Stankovic Cup) set September 14 to 22 in Tokyo, which coincides with the FIBA-Asia executive meeting.
Salud and the members of the board will also support the title drive of the Nationals by watching some of their scheduled games.