Philippines sets new Fiba World Cup attendance record with 38,115
BOCAUE, Bulacan — The Philippines kicked off the Fiba World Cup 2023 opener in historic fashion as 38,115 fans inside the Philippine Arena set a new attendance record on Friday.
The Filipinos, who came to rally behind Gilas Pilipinas’ first game against the Karl-Anthony Towns-led Dominican Republic, turned up to the 55,000-capacity Arena to shatter the previous highest attendance record set in a single game in the 1994 World Cup Finals in Toronto, where 32,616 fans witnessed the Shaquille O’Neal-led USA cruised to the gold medal against Russia.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was part of the record-breaking crowd, watching the first Group A game of Gilas Pilipinas against the Dominican Republic in the country’s second hosting of the World Cup after the 1978 edition in Manila.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Fiba Central board were present on the historic night as well as Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio and chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon S. Ang and Al Francis Chua.
PBA still holds the highest attendance record at Philippine Arena after 54,589 fans witnessed Barangay Ginebra’s championship-clinching win over the Bay Area Dragons in Game 7 of the 2022 Commissioner’s Cup Finals last January 15.
The second most watched game at the Arena in Bulacan was Game 7 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between Ginebra and the Meralco Bolts which 54,086 fans attended last October 27, 2017.
Making 𝐇𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐑𝐘 in Manila 🤩
— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) August 25, 2023
Last week, Marcos suspended classes in public schools at all levels and work in the government in Metro Manila and Bulacan for the opener of the Fiba World Cup.
Most of the fans came from the free 400 point-to-point (P2P) shuttle buses from 12 strategic take-off points around Metro Manila, Pampanga, and Bulacan.
Sarah Geronimo, the Dawn, and Ben and Ben also performed before a historic crowd after Italy took down Angola, 81-67, in the first game.
The remainder of the first-round games of Groups A and B will be played at Smart Araneta Coliseum until September 3. The Group D games also tipped off at Mall of Asia Arena with Egypt and Lithuania raising the curtains and Mexico taking on Montenegro on opening day.
Team USA will kick off its Group C campaign on Saturday against New Zealand at Mall of Asia Arena, followed by the match between Greece and Jordan as the games in Okinawa, Japan and Jakarta, Indonesia also fired off.
The Final Phase from September 5 to 10 is set at Mall of Asia Arena.