The Fiba Asia Executive Committee on Thursday officially let the Philippines take over the holding of the qualifying event for the 2014 Fiba World Cup, mainly due to the continuing unrest in West Asia.
“Unfortunately, the current situation in the region and the on-going civil war in Syria, which has its indirect effect on the countries in the whole of West Asia, especially on Lebanon, creates doubts about the stability that we might not have, at least, till the fixed dates of our event,” said Fiba Asia Secretary General Hagop Khajirian explaining the decision.
Despite the change in venue from Beirut to Manila, dates of the biennial tournament — which dangles three spots to represent Asia in the Fiba Worlds — remain as scheduled, from August 1 to 11.
The Executive Committee originally granted Lebabon the rights last year despite a “clear and thorough” presentation, according to PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, by Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) in Japan.
But the SBP never closed its doors — and was rewarded in the end.
“It’s official: Manila hosts 2013 FIBA ASIA CHAMPIONSHIPS! All the hardwork through Christmas & New Year paid off. Now the really difficult work begins,” said national team head coach Chot Reyes on his Twitter account (@coachot).
The last time the country hosted a marquee event such as this was way back in 1973, 20 editions ago.
“We are honored to host this prestigious event,” said SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, also in a statement.
“We thank FIBA Asia for giving us this privilege, which will give great happiness and enjoyment to the millions of Filipino basketball fans,” he added.