‘PH can host Fiba World Cup’
MANILA, Philippines–As the Philippines’ hold on basketball lore takes a turn, Fiba officials said they are certain that the country can host the 2019 basketball World Cup.
Fiba Secretary General Patrick Baumann said in a press conference Friday that the Philippines is capable of hosting the Fiba World Cup in 2019 after an evaluation commission from the basketball’s governing body held an ocular inspection.
“The Philippines can host the World Cup,” Baumann said at the Makati Shangri-La hotel. “Yes they can.”
“I wish you luck, but I think you’re ready.”
Fiba sent a group to the Philippines to inspect possible venues, hotels, healthcare services, telecom lines and many other facilities that are integral for the country’s bid to host the World Cup.
The operative word, of course, is “can.” Also bidding for the rights to host the games are Qatar, China, 2010’s host Turkey and a partnership between France and Germany.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), however, has yet to submit the documents detailing its plans for the hosting of the games to Fiba.
Baumann has high expectations for the Philippines, not only in its bid, but for the Gilas program.
“The Philippines is playing well (during the 2014 World Cup), maybe not as well as you might have wished but clearly deserving to be in the World Cup,” Baumann said. “And now even bidding for the World Cup. I think it’s incredible for this federation.”
Gilas only won a single game during its run in the 2014 Fiba World Cup but captured the world’s attention with its dribble-drive offense and gritty play.
It was in 2014 when Spain and the basketball world embraced the “Puso” battle cry of Gilas.
Lubomir Kotleba, chairman of Fiba’s evaluation commission, attended the opening of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Tuesday and he was convinced that “puso” still reigns.
“Of course ‘puso’,” Kotleba said after watching the PBA games at the Mall of Asia Arena. “‘Puso’ is not only in the arena, ‘puso’ is everywhere.”
He added that the Filipinos’ “puso” is evident even in their hosting bid that he sees “‘puso’ everywhere we go.”
Kotleba was also surprised how competitive the Filipinos are when playing basketball although “very physical.”
SBP President Manuel V. Pangilinan said if there was an X-Factor that the Philippines has in its bid, it is the passion and “puso” of the Philippines.
“X-Factor? It’s the Filipino people,” Pangilinan said. “The Filipino fans are heads above the other fans in terms of passion.”
Baumann said they have seen two “very good” venues in the Mall of Asia Arena and the massive Philippine Arena that are capable of hosting the events.
He added that the historic domed arena, the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, is also capable though it “obviously” needs improvements.
“Overall conclusion from the team…there is very little concern that the event could not be held here in very good circumstances,” Baumann said.
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