THE Filipinos' passion for basketball and their vast social media presence are two factors which the country's bid team hopes will swing the bidding war for the 2019 FIBA World Cup hosting in the Philippines' favor.
Former Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes said the Filipinos are pinning their hosting campaign on the country’s love for the game and social media savvy in the hope of convincing the powerful 23-man Fiba Central Committee to award the hosting rights to the country.
Reyes is a part of the star-studded Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) team leaving for Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday for the country’s formal presentation to Fiba on Friday afternoon (5:30 p.m.).
SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan heads the Filipino contingent that includes boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, a known basketball fanatic, Fil-Am Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips, and former Gilas Pilipinas skipper Jimmy Alapag.
“Our hosting is very simple. It’s all about P.U.S.O.,” said Reyes during the sendoff for the Philippine delegation on Monday at the Meralco Lighthouse.
“P stands for passion, while U means unity. S is for social savvy, while O is for our time, meaning it’s the Philippines’ time to host the Fiba World Cup after last staging the event here in 1978,” added Reyes.
During the same program, Reyes bared a recent survey that 96 percent of Filipino basketball fans want the country to host the world basketball championship featuring some 32 teams including powerhouse United States and European countries.
“We aim to share this energy to the world,” said Gilas Pilipinas team manager and SBP deputy executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio.
Reyes said the SBP is also encouraging Filipinos to use social media to let Fiba know how the Philippines wants to have the 2019 World Cup here.
A few of the ways to help the country’s bid is to use #PUSO2019 on Facebook and Twitter while also tagging Fiba on their social accounts, and doing a ‘Shot Para sa Pinas’ video similar to the popular ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’
A selfie stick that does a ‘dunkfie’ was also unveiled during the sendoff which will be presented to Fiba in a bid to help the country win the hosting rights.
“That's what I want Fiba to experience. To feel that passion and love for the game that runs deep in all of us,” Alapag said.
The former player and now Talk ‘N Text team manager also expressed confidence about the country’s chances of winning the bid over rival China.
“We are going up against the giant. But we have proven that giants can be taken down,” he added.