Philippines primed to set new Fiba World Cup record attendance, says SBP | Inquirer Sports

Philippines primed to set new Fiba World Cup record attendance, says SBP

/ 05:40 PM August 16, 2023

Gilas Pilipinas Fiba World Cup

FILE–Gilas Pilipinas during a game at the Philippine Arena during the FIba World Cup Asian Qualifiers. –FIBA BASKETBALL

MANILA, Philippines — Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is optimistic that the country will set a new Fiba World Cup attendance record on August 25 when Gilas Pilipinas takes on Dominican Republic at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Aside from advancing to the next round and qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the Philippines is also seeking to surpass the highest attendance in a Fiba World Cup game, which is set at 32,616 fans during the 1994 finals in Toronto, Canada where the Shaquille O’Neal-led USA cruised to the gold medal against Russia.

“We’re really primed to beat that record. We’re very close to the goal, but not yet there,” said Erika Dy, the Deputy Event Director of the FIBA World Cup 2023, on Tuesday in the special edition of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

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“In terms of ticket sales, we are at about 28,000 right now. So very close to the goal but not yet there. We have 10 more days to sell and we should also note that it was just last weekend that we opened our outlets for box offices selling before that was sold online,” she added.

While the main venues for the Fiba World Cup in Manila, one of the three cities in Asia along with Okinawa and Jakarta hosting the global meet, are at Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena, Gilas Pilipinas’ opening game will be held at the 55,000-seater Bulacan venue to support the bid for the record.

Government work and public school classes on August 25 in Metro Manila and Bulacan have also been suspended to give way to the opening rites of the Fiba World Cup.

Dy said that every person inside the Philippine Arena during the game will be counted, including the members of the press, the organizing committee, the volunteers, and the security inside the building, and not just the spectators.

“I do believe that we will surpass it, the number is actually 32,616,” she said. “When we do record the number of spectators in a game we do count everybody who is accredited. Every warm body inside the stadium is going to be counted.  Volunteers alone count up to 700 so I think we are really proud to beat that record.”

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Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said the goal is to at suprass the 50,000 mark, which is close to the 54,589 spectators present during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals game between Ginebra Gin Kings and visiting team Bay Area Dragons in January.

“Yes, I think we’re really confident that we’ll surpass that. In fact I wanna see that we can breach the 50,000 mark,” said Panlilio.

“I’m not sure if  [Commissioner Willie Marcial] will agree if we get a bigger attendance than the PBA,” he added in jest. “But Comm Willie thanks for all the support. But we want to achieve the 50,000 mark at least.”

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The organizers have made free shuttle service available for spectators going to the Philippine Arena, with several pick-up points within Metro Manila.

“Everybody is looking forward to it. That’s the reason we decided to keep a game in Philippine Arena because that’s the objective and we’d like to put Philippines also on the map in terms of Fiba attendance,” said Panlilio.

TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas

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