SBP to Fiba: Louder in ’23
Bringing the world’s biggest basketball event to the Philippines—and having Gilas Pilipinas play in it—may no longer be just a dream.
That’s why the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) intends to pull out all the stops to make it come true during its final presentation to host the 2023 World Cup before the Fiba Central Board on Saturday at the Fiba headquarters in Mies, Switzerland.
Unlike in 2015 when the Philippines lost to China the 2019 World Cup hosting rights despite a star-studded show, the SBP aims to present a simpler but stronger three-nation hosting that involves Japan (Okinawa) and Indonesia (Jakarta).
“If they want growth to the next level for Fiba, the region they should bring the next World Cup [to] is Southeast Asia,” said SBP president Al Panlilio. “We are hopeful that on top of the population, social media is big here in this region. And at the same time, we committed that they will see record crowds watching the game.”
“It’s aligned to what Fiba wants to do for basketball,” added Panlilio. “Fiba wants to bring up the level of awareness and expansion for global basketball.”
The Philippines will have 20 minutes to make its case against another joint hosting proposal by Argentina and Uruguay.
Presentation starts at 10:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m. in Manila) with SBP chair emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan leading the speakers for the three-nation consortium. The Board will announce the winner at 1 p.m. (8 p.m. in Manila).
Winning bidders will also earn outright slots in the 2023 World Cup, which features 32 countries and serves as qualifier for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said “simplicity, diversity and intensity” will be at the core of their proposal.
“I think it’s a very compelling proposition that we have brought forward to Fiba,” said Panlilio. “Imagine 500 million population among the three countries. Indonesia [and] the Philippines have a very young population that’s predisposed to social media. And the interest in basketball for that young demographic is there.”
SBP—which is drumming up its bid with the hashtag #PlayLouderIn2023 on social media—will also emphasize event security and the fact that visitors only need to travel for 30 minutes from the playing venues (Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia Arena, Philippine Arena) to the hotels, shopping malls, hospitals and other facilities.
If the three-nation bid wins, half of the 32 World Cup qualifiers will play in Manila while the other half will be split between Jakarta and Okinawa. But all games in the knockout stage will be played in the Philippines starting in the quarterfinals.
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