FOUR decades later, basketball is coming back home.
The Philippines finally clinched the hosting of the 2023 World Cup Saturday night as its consortium with Indonesia and Japan got the nod of the majority within the FIBA Central Board over the intense, dual bid of Argentina and Uruguay.
This marks the second time the country will be staging the world championships since hosting the 1978 edition, which Yugoslavia won.
Incidentally, Argentina – and Spain - also bid for the 1978 hosting only to withdraw at the last minute.
"We did it! The Philippines will host 2023 FIBA World Cup. God bless us," Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan gladly announced the good news on his Twitter account@iamMVP.
FIBA president Horacio Muratore of Argentina was the one who announced the winning bidder.
SBP president Al Panlilio told SPIN.ph from Geneva that the FIBA Central Board ‘agreed to the hosting without voting.’
The awarding of the hosting rights somehow eased the pain of the country’s failure to bring the meet here in 2019 after losing to China during the 2015 presentation.
Likewise, the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia will earn automatic berths in the World Cup as hosts.
“We are bringing basketball home! I am elated for our country and our basketball-loving countrymen,” said Panlilio in a statement.
“We have put the Philippines in the global map. The actual work starts now as we collaborate with our partners – Indonesia and Japan – in making this a successful event.
Pangilinan led the eight-man speaker of the consortium during the 20-minute presentation given to each bidding country, and followed by Budi Satrio Djiwandono of Indonesia, and Okinawa City Mayor Sachio Kuwae.
Congresswoman Pia Cayetano made up the second batch of speakers, along with Indonesia’s Erick Thohir, Yuko Mitsuya of Japan, Panlilio, before Pangilinan wrapped up the presentation anchored on simplicity, diversity, and intensity.
The SBP also tried to create awareness on its hosting bid by making the hashtag #PlayLouderIn2023 go viral on social media.