Countdown clock ticks away to dream Fiba World Cup hosting
MANILA, Philippines-The Philippines’ cage leaders and Fiba’s top executives took the lid off the 2023 World Cup Countdown Clock on Saturday night at Mall of Asia Music Hall, officially kicking off the one-year lead-up to the global showcase here.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, World Cup chair Richard Carrion, local ambassador Catriona Gray, Tissot representative Denise Dy led the symbolic activation of the digital clock sandwiched by SM Mall of Asia and the scenic Manila Bay.
“We’ve been dreaming about this since we won the hosting in 2017,” Panlilio told reporters before heading to a private dinner with the visiting delegation that included Fiba president Hamane Niang and World Cup executive director David Crocker.
“If we’re to pat ourselves in the back, we’ve been doing well so far. Siguro naman nakikita na ninyo yung samahan namin, body language namin with Fiba, di lang kami nagkakamayan, nagaakapan pa kami,” SBP spokesperson Sonny Barrios.
The event was also attended by top local sports officials, namely Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino, Philippine Basketball Association chair Ricky Vargas, the pro league’s chief Willie Marcial, and San Miguel Corp. sports director and Gilas advisor Alfrancis Chua.
“Across the Philippines, we know fans are counting down the days to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 tip-off and thanks to the Qualifiers, fans have already got a taste of the action,” said Carrion.
The Philippines is set to host the global enclave from August 25 through September 10 alongside Indonesia and Japan.
Gilas is already qualified for the World Cup owing to its global ranking and its hosting duties.
The unveiling of the clock will be bookended by the Nationals’ World Cup Asian Qualifiers match against Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena. That match, slated 7 p.m. Monday at MOA Arena, will feature Filipino-American NBA star Jordan Clarkson who is set to play his first Gilas game on home soil.