Fiba group boosts PH bid
THE INVITATION for a media conference sent by Ms. Love M. Viray of the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) to announce the result of the inspection tour by the Fiba Evaluation Committee from Jan. 26 to 30 was set for 11 in the morning of Friday at the Isabela Dining Hall of Makati Shangri-la Hotel.
We latecomers later found out that when Ms Love sets the call time at 11 a.m., she means 11 a.m. sharp. Could be several minutes earlier, but not a minute later.
We arrived late, but not very late, about several minutes before noon. Thus we were surprised to be told that the conference was over.
Since press conferences seldom start on time, we thought we would still catch a big part of the proceedings. Our group of three veteran scribes came on a car pool, all the way from the north. It was a long drive. Several groups also arrived late.
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The conference started 11 on the dot, according to a colleague. The announcement was short, and the media had only less than a handful of questions to ask in the open forum.
We only had a glimpse of SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan and SBP vice chair Victorico “Ricky” Vargas at the buffet table and then they were both gone, along with SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, PBA chair Pato Gregorio, SBP adviser Moying Martelino and the Fiba guests.
Our colleague said MVP was in a rush because he was hosting lunch for the group at his posh Forbes Park residence.
Fortunately for us, SBP deputy executive director (for international affairs) Butch Antonio stayed behind to inform us of what transpired in the press conference.
Butch is the same SBP official with whom a small group of scribes conducted a round table discussion exactly a week earlier regarding the inspection tour.
He broke the good news that the Fiba Committee, headed by chair Lubomir Kotleba, after making the rounds of the proposed Philippine facilities like Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, Mall of Asia Arena and Smart Araneta Coliseum plus two other sites still to be built, one in Cebu and the other at Solaire grounds, had issued a very positive pronouncement through SBP secretary general Patrick Baumann, who arrived Thursday.
“Baumann announced that the Philippines is capable of hosting the 2019 Fiba World Cup, our biggest asset being our passion for basketball, which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.”
Butch said he believes we have a very good chance of being awarded the 2019 hosting.
He and the rest of the SBP staff will have their hands full in the coming weeks to make sure that Baumann’s instructions are followed to the letter.
Baumann’s famous last words: “From here it is up to the SBP to finalize the process, put the documents in order and on the table at Fiba Headquarters in Geneva, so they can make the best impression possible on the decision makers.”
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