THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has played down perception of partiality to Argentina and Uruguay when the two South American countries bid against the trio of the Philippines-Japan-Indonesia for the right to host the 2013 Fiba World Cup.
Horacio Muratore, the FIBA president, is an Argentinian. He was born in San Miguel de Tucuman to a basketball family, his father being a founding member of the Tucuman BB club.
SBP president Al Panlilio, though, explained that under FIBA voting rules, countries bidding for the hosting of the meet are prohibited from casting their ballots.
Muratore, Manny V. Pangilinan (Philippines), Yuko Mitsuya (Japan), and Erick Tohir (Indonesia) are members of the 27-man FIBA Central Board tasked to vote on the next host of the world basketball championship six years from now.
“Countries involved in the bid will recluse themselves from the bidding,” said Panlilio before leaving with the SBP bidding team for Geneva on Thursday.
“I think they will be fair naman,” he added. “Argentina is also very serious in hosting it. We also know that they’re a passionate (basketball) country just like the Philippines.”
The winning bidder will be announced on Saturday.
Panlilio and Pangilinan will be joined in Geneva by Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, deputy House Speaker Pia Cayetano, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, TV5 Sports head Patricia Bermudez-Hizon, and DDB group managing director John Lucas.
Unlike the last time it bid against China in 2015 for the hosting of the 2019 World Cup when it brought a powerhouse lineup led by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Hollywood Fil-Am actor Lou Diamond Philips, the Philippines will try to keep everything simple this time.
The SBP president said bidding countries will be given 20 minutes each for their respective presentations, and a 10-minute question and answer session afterwards with the FIBA Central Board.
Pangilinan, the former SBP president and now chairman emeritus of the association, will lead the speakers for the joint bid, to be followed by Budi Satrio Djiwandono (Indonesia), and Okinawa City Mayor Sachio Kuwae.
Cayetano makes up the second batch of speakers, along with Thohir, Mitsuya, and Panlilio, before Pangilinan wraps up the presentation.
Panlilio said both Indonesia and Japan deferred to the Philippines as the lead country in the hosting bid.
“They look to us as the lead, and in most cases, they follow the lead, they follow our guidance,” said the Meralco top executive.
“(Eric) Thohir even said that if this is soccer, then I should take the lead. But since this is basketball, then we’ll defer to the Philippines. And it’s the same thing with Japan,” Panlilio added. “We have not encountered any major problems in terms of coordination and collaboration.”