MVP Christmas gift: 2023 World Cup
It was not only front page stuff but the banner story as well of some newspapers.
And rightly so.
After an unsuccessful bid in 2015, the Philippines, this time with partners Japan and Indonesia, finally won the right to host the 2023 edition of the Fiba World Cup after Argentina and Uruguay withdrew their joint bid during the Fiba Central Board meeting in Geneva on Saturday.
“World basketball is coming home to the Philippines. It’s an honor for our country to be chosen to host the World Cup and the single priceless legacy I could leave for Philippine basketball,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chair emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan, who spearheaded the campaign of the Philippine-led consortium.
Unlike in 2015 when China was picked as 2019 host over the Philippines on a 14-7 vote, the Fiba Central Board, in a gesture of sportsmanship, decided to pick Argentina and Uruguay as 2028 co-hosts.
The Philippines first hosted the world championship in l978 but the sport, which remained dearest and most loved by Filipinos, have grown tremendously worldwide with the event now serving as qualifier to the Olympics.
Under the three-nation setup for 2023, half of the 32 World Cup qualifiers will play in Manila while Jakarta, Indonesia, and Okinawa, Japan, will play host to eight teams each. But all games in the knockout stage beginning in the quarterfinals will be staged before Filipinos with officials confident of setting a new attendance record when action shifts to the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Details of how MVP and Co. intend to pull off a World Cup to remember in 2023 have yet to be tackled, but for the moment, the prospect of the basketball icons of the world seeing action here is enough to add joy to the coming holiday season.
And the good piece of news may spill over and help the Philippine Basketball Association as it grapples with the issue of what to do with Chito Narvasa, whose term as commissioner ended when Barangay Ginebra retained its Governors’ Cup title over Meralco last month.
The league is set to open a new season on Dec. 17, but games have been scheduled only up to Dec. 29. No board meeting has been held after the league’s annual planning session has been scrapped for lack of quorum.
Seven board members, led by new chair Ramoncito Fernandez, want Narvasa out for “loss of confidence” following his approval of a trade by cellar-dweller Kia of its top draft pick to powerhouse San Miguel. The seven wanted executive director Rickie Santos to take over but the remaining five board members from San Miguel Beer, Kia, GlobalPort, Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia (formerly Star) insisted on keeping Narvasa.
A three-fourths vote is needed to reappoint Narvasa and both camps don’t have the required number.