SBP anchors 2023 World Cup hosting bid on ‘power of three’
A unique hosting set-up may just win it this time for the Philippines.
At least that’s what the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) hopes as it banks on the “power of three” to bag the hosting rights for the 2023 Fiba World Cup.
“I think we really wanted to have a more compelling bid,” said SBP president Al Panlilio as the Philippines, together with Japan and Indonesia, gear up for their three-nation proposal before the Fiba Central Board this Saturday in Geneva.
“We feel that this bid, with the three countries—the power of three—is a compelling bid for Fiba to consider,” added Panlilio during a press conference Monday in Meralco, Ortigas. “I guess at the end of the day, we want to make sure we do win. I feel optimistically cautious or guarded that we do have a good chance to win the bid.”
Panlilio admitted the presentation won’t be as star-studded as in 2015 when the Philippines lost out to China in its bid to host the 2019 Fiba World Cup. Back then, celebrities like American actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who traces his roots in Zambales, and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao made an impassioned plea that cited the country’s love for the sport.
This time, the SBP hopes to align its bid with Fiba’s vision to draw a bigger audience.
“There’s the uniqueness of our co-hosting bid,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios. “If you’re Fiba and your main objective is globalization of the sport, you’d take note of the co-hosting bid of three countries. There’s a global reach in many aspects— culturally, religiously, economically—and the sheer number of 500 million [of the co-hosts’ combined population].”
The SBP officials said it’s strongly coordinating with co-host cities Jakarta and Okinawa as the group goes up against the Argentina-Uruguay team, another co-hosting bidder.
“Indonesia and Japan look at us as the lead [host],” said Panlilio.
Just like in 2015, SBP also hopes to tap public support through social media with the hashtag #PlayLouderIn2023.
If the three-nation proposal wins the hosting rights, half of the 32 World Cup qualifiers will play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena. All games, though, will be played in the Philippines starting in the quarterfinals.
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