Fiba evaluation committee due
IT’S UNLIKELY for the Fiba to achieve its dream in the immediate future, but the international basketball body is not shy to admit that they would like the Fiba World Cup to be like their football counterpart in terms of popularity and interest worldwide, crowd attendance and intense passion for the sport.
“The Fiba said they want their World Cup to be as grandiose as the Fifa World Cup. That is their vision,” said Butch Antonio, SBP deputy director for international affairs.
Antonio, who is also Gilas team manager, sat down with a small media group to discuss the forthcoming visit of the Fiba Evaluation Committee, which will inspect the infrastructure facilities of the Philippines for the staging of the 2018 Fiba World Cup.
Through SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, the Philippines had submitted a bid to host the quadrennial sporting event which was last hosted by Spain in 2014.
After the initial screening of the candidates’ list, only four bidders were left to choose from—China, Germany/France, Turkey and the Philippines.
France and Germany had submitted their bid as one.
The four-man Fiba Committee is arriving tomorrow for the inspection tour of various points in Metro Manila to Cebu that will take a total of five days—from the 26th to the 30th.
“Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann will also fly in on Thursday to join the group. MVP has been so excited about this visit, he has been working hands on to see to it that everything is in place, including the accommodations for the inspectors,” Antonio said.
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According to PBA chair Pato Gregorio, who led the SBP group that met with Fiba officials at its Geneva headquarters last December, the Philippines is the first stop of the Inspection Committee.
“They plan to complete their inspection in two months,” said Pato.
The SBP is proposing five venues for the event, three of them already existing. These are SM Mall of Asia Arena, Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao and Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The two other sites still in the blueprint stage include one within the Enrique Razon-owned Solaire Hotel/Casino area and a second SM Mall of Asia Arena in Cebu.
Pato and Butch agree that the Filipinos’ passion for basketball and the expected huge Filipino attendance in games staged in various venues, will be the main factors working to our advantage.
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