MVP set to make key Fiba Asia Championship hosting pitchBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOKYO—Reportedly already having the inside track, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officials, led by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, will present the Philippines’ hosting capabilities to the Fiba Asia leadership on Wednesday for the World Championship qualifying next year.
Pangilinan banners a heavy-hitters cast of SBP officials who will try to win for the Philippines a huge homecourt advantage next year in the meeting set from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Grand Prince New Takanawa Hotel here.
There have been conflicting reports heard from team representatives of other countries playing in the fourth Fiba-Asia Cup, with some of them conceding the rights to the Philippines when they vote after the presentations.
Hagop Khajirian, the Fiba-Asia secretary general, will lead the basketball body’s executive committee in hearing all presentations.
The Philippines will reportedly have just 20 minutes to present the venue, accommodations and other logistics needed to be able to host the event, where the top two placers will win slots to the 2014 World Championships in Spain.
Should the Philippines go on to host the event, it will mark the first time in exactly 40 years that the tournament will return to the country.
In 1973, with a team built around the legendary Sonny Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez and William Adornado, among others, the Philippines ruled what was then known as the Asian Basketball Confederation Championship in Manila.
Pangilinan, who wants to lead Philippine basketball back to the World and Olympic events, has reportedly flown in Tuesday afternoon together with SBP executive director Sonny Barrios and PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
There is also talk that SBP officials with the Gilas team have reportedly heard that China is also throwing its hat into the race.
Iran, according to Gilas head coach Chot Reyes, has also backed out, leaving Lebanon and the Philippines as the two countries left jostling for the rights, until the rumor of China joining the race spread.
Salud made the trip to here together with current board chair Robert Non to throw the full support of the PBA to the SBP bid.
Meanwhile, Lebanon and China bamboozled separate foes Tuesday afternoon and sealed Nos. 1 and 3 seedings, respectively, in Group A of the Fiba-Asia Cup.
The Lebanese, whose only loss in a 3-1 card was dealt by Smart Gilas-Pilipinas on Friday, mangled Macau black-and-blue, 106-46, shortly after the Chinese scored an 84-49 ripping of Uzbekistan at Ota gym.
The Philippines will be clashing with Chinese-Taipei, which claimed third seed in Group B after a 75-73 victory over Qatar Tuesday night.