Philippines loses Fiba Asia hosting bid to Lebanon
Despite a “clear and thorough” presentation by Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) in Tokyo, Japan, Fiba-Asia executive board granted the rights to host next year’s tournament to Lebanon.
Fiba-Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian led the basketball body’s committee in hearing all presentations Wednesday in Grand Prince New Takanawa Hotel.
“Aside from our country’s excellent playing venues, hotels and transport facilities to be dedicated to the event, emphasis was placed on the tremendous fan base basketball enjoys in Manila, a factor that should have given us the edge,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
Salud, along with SBP officials Manny V. Pangilinan and Sonny Barriors, were part of the esteemed panel that appeared before the executives presented what the country had to offer as hosts.
“It is a pity that the Fiba-Asia executive board did not see it that way,” Salud continued.
“It would have been a great opportunity for Fiba to see for itself how ardent and knowledgeable Filipino basketball fans are,” Salud finished.
Lebanese national team forward Fadi El-Khatib, along with a teammate, reportedly presented their country’s bid in just casual clothing.
National team head coach Chot Reyes, whose squad plays in the quarterfinals of the Fiba Asia Cup Thursday, meanwhile, could not hide his disappointment over the decision.
“Pinapunta pa si (MVP) at si (Commissioner) Salud, ibibigay din pala sa lugar na malapit sa gyera at player lang ang nag-present,” said Reyes.
The last time the country hosted the Fiba Asia Championships, which gives an outright slot to the World Championship to be held in 2014, was in 1973.
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