A SIX-man Philippine delegation, led by Tourism Undersecretary and CEO Domingo Ramon Enerio III, PBA chairman Pato Gregorio, and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios, will fly to Geneva on Sunday to attend the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup Bid Workshop, a big step for the country’s efforts to secure hosting rights to the global showpiece.
With the exploratory group are SBP deputy executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio, SBP logistics consultant Andrew Teh, and Sean Nicholls, president of Octagon Asia-Pacific, a renowned sports marketing and advertising firm based in Sydney.
“We are very serious about the bid process and we will be there to win it,” said SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas.
“SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan wants to make an impression on the seriousness of our bid so that aside from SBP officials, we have requested DOT Undersecretary Enerio and Octagon Asia president Nicholls to join,” said Barrios. “We expect our Pilipinas team to put our best foot forward in the Fiba Workshop.”
SBP officials earlier met with DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez who expressed keen interest in the project and saw its potential benefits for Philippine tourism. He then sent Usec. Enerio to join the delegation.
The workshop is scheduled on December 15 and 16 and is the second item in the candidate phase of the Fiba World Cup bidding calendar after the expression of Interest and applicant phases.
On-site inspection by top Fiba officials will be next in January 2015 followed by the submission of final candidature files in April, and the final bid presentations and announcement of the host nation by the Fiba Central Board in May.
The Philippines and Brazil, which made its intentions known last September, have openly expressed interest in hosting the event. Other potential bids could come from Germany, France, China, Turkey, Lithuania, Russia and Mexico.
Brazil hosted the tournament in 1954 and 1963, while the Philippines had its turn in 1978.
Six cities around Spain hosted the 2014 Fiba World Cup from August 30 to September 14, with the United States routing Serbia, 129-92, in the final game at the Palacio de la Communidad de Madrid for the Americans’ fifth world championship.
Gilas Pilipinas, which posted its first ever World Cup victory after 40 years, beating Africa’s Senegal in overtime, 81-79, finished 21st overall, ahead of preliminary round qualifiers Finland, South Korea and Egypt.
Memorable close games against Croatia, Argentina and Puerto Rico marked the national team's participation, made possible by its silver medal finish in the Fiba Asia Championship which SBP organized and staged in August 2013 at the Mall of Asia Arena and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Three venues are seen as major attractions for the visiting Fiba inspection team next year: the historic Araneta Coliseum, the state-of-the-art MOA Arena and the 55,000-capacity Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Also under consideration by SBP is a sports venue the SM Group is reportedly looking to build in Cebu and another which the Solaire Group is planning to put up in Entertainment City.