INCOMING Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his support for Gilas Pilipinas' campaign as well as the country’s hosting of the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament from July 5 to 10.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios met with Duterte in Davao City to personally extend the invitation of SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan to attend the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will incidentally fall in the first few days of the Duterte administration.
Barrios said Duterte has yet to commit to watch the games, but expressed all-out support to the endeavor.
“If his schedule will allow him,” said Barrios, when asked by SPIN.ph if Duterte will attend the Fiba Manila OQT. “He cannot commit yet but he is very supportive of the OQT and Gilas Pilipinas.”
In a photo posted on SBP’s Facebook page, the Davao City mayor is wearing a Philippine team jacket as he was joined by his executive assistant Bong Go, Barrios, SBP board member and regional director Boy Cua, and SBP legal consultant Aga Francisco.
During the meeting, Barrios said he learned that Duterte is a basketball fan.
“Very much so, but he joked na ‘mas madalas daw siya talo,’” Barrios recalled of his conversation with Duterte, who has a basketball tournament named after him held annually in Davao City.