Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan admitted he is getting nervous but remained optimistic about Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship, which serves as a qualifier for next year’s World Basketball Championship in Spain.
“Of course, we could only wish the Philippine team well, but we’re hopeful makakapasok ang Gilas sa Fiba-World Championship since top three naman ng Asia ang makakapasok,” said the business tycoon of the national team’s coming campaign in the August 1-11 tournament.
With twenty seven days before the Fiba-Asia joust formally kicks off, Pangilinan signed a covenant with mayors of Manila, Makati, and Pasay, along with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, for the successful hosting of the meet.
The signing was held at the Dusit Thani Hotel, where all 16 teams participating in the 11-day meet will be billeted.
Pangilinan later admitted feeling a bit tense ahead of Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign against the best basketball teams around Asia.
“Siyempre, may kasamang konting nerbyos din dahil mga three weeks na lang and finally, we’re approaching the hosting of the Fiba-Asia Championship,” he said.
The man known as MVP also took the opportunity to thank the city mayors and Tolentino for extending their full support and cooperation in helping SBP stage the Fiba-Asia tournament here for the first time in 40 years.
This developed as SBP executive director Sonny Barrios declared the federation is now "around 85 to 90 percent ready" in its preparation for the biggest basketball meet to be staged in the country since 1973.
“Masasabi nating nasa last three minutes na tayo ng preparation,” said Barrios. “Malaking tulong talaga ang kapulisan natin saka MMDA sa pag-host natin ngayon ng Fiba-Asia.”