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    SBP officials get close look at China preparation for World Cup hosting

    May 2, 2019

    IT'S still a good four years from now, but the Philippines was already given a close look at how preparations should be for the hosting of the FIBA World Cup.

    A compact group of Filipinos representing the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) toured three cities of China last week to get a glimpse of the groundwork being done by the country for the staging of the world championship later this year.

    The SBP group was composed of Ryan Gregorio, special assistant to SBP president Al Panlilio, team manager Gabby Cui, Butch Antonio, and Cito Martelino.

    The four-man team was with delegations from Russia, Italy, Spain, and Poland in the tour around Beijing, Foshan, and Wuhan to take a look on how these Chinese cities are priming up for the August 31 to Sept. 15 meet featuring teams from 32 countries.

    The SBP said the whirlwind, three-day visit should augur well for the Philippines' own hosting of the meet in 2023.

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    "There are a lot of takeaways from the trip. From venue inspection to hotel accommodations," noted Gregorio after serving as TV panelist during Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals between San Miguel and Magnolia on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    "We also did a lot of benchmarking as we are also preparing for our hosting in 2023."

    Gregorio said the group toured the Foshan gymnasium where Team Pilipinas will play during the group stage of the World Cup against Serbia, Italy, and Angola.

    The delegation also saw the 19,000-seater Cadillac Arena in Beijing as well as the Wuhan gymnasium where Gilas Pilipinas played during the 2011 FIBA Asia Men's Championship.

    Gregorio said should Team Pilipinas make it past the group stage, the Filipinos will go to Wuhan for the next stage of the meet.

    But should they fail to advance, they will be directed to Beijing for the classification round games.

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