Security is top priority as SBP lays down groundwork for Manila hosting of Olympic qualifiers
SBP deputy executive director Butch Antonio bares plans to host teams completing in the Olympic qualifiers in hotels near the Mall of Asia Arena for logistical reasons. Dante Peralta

THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is optimistic it can host the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) smoothly following an ocular inspection made by Fiba officials a few weeks ago.

SBP deputy executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio said Fiba was generally satisfied with all aspects related to the Philippines’ hosting of the OQT like the venue, hotel, security, and transportation.

Fiba sports and competitions director Predrag Bogosavlej and Fiba-Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian were in Manila recently to make the ocular inspection as the country hosts one of the threewildcard basketball qualifiers for the Rio Games from July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“There were positive recommendations and their comments on our preparation was good. There weren’t too many deficiencies kumbaga on our part. It was very good,” said Antonio, who revealed that another ocular inspection will be done about a few weeks before the tournament begins.

Antonio also shared plans on hosting the athletes in hotels near the Mall of Asia Arena for logistical reasons.

“What we tried to do at SBP is we are going to concentrate the activities and logistics all within the complex around the Mall of Asia Arena. At least, if there are things we can’t control, maminimize ‘yung aberya,” said Antonio.

Security will also be a top priority to the hosting, since well-known NBA players like France’s Tony Parker are also expected to play in the Olympic qualifiers.

“Once you bid, you have to come up with a security plan. We are in close coordination with the PNP, MMDA, and the local government. Alam natin ‘yung importance ng security and it is part and parcel of our preparation,” Antonio said.

The Philippines will see action in Group  B of the qualifiers with France and New Zealand. Group A is composed of Turkey, Senegal, and Canada.

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