THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) was quick to the draw as it tries to comply with the requirements to make a bid to host one of three wildcard qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The cage body headed by Manny V. Pangilinan has already began sending feelers to the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) on how to go about bidding to become one of three hosts for the July 4 to 10 meet where the final three berths to the Summer Games will be at stake.
Pangilinan met with SBP vice president Al Panlilio late Wednesday night to discuss the steps to be taken in the country’s effort to hold the qualifiers here. Aside from Panlilio, also present during the meeting were Talk 'N Text alternate governor Patrick Gregorio and NLEX president and board of governor Ramon Fernandez.
“We’ll check with Fiba on the final submission on intent to bid,” said Panlilio, also the Meralco governor to the PBA board. “There will be a meeting sometime in November to discuss where the venues will be.”
If ever, this will be the country’s second time in the last three months that the country will bid to becom the host of a major basketball tournament. The SBP earlier failed to secure the hosting of the 2019 Fiba World Cup, losing the rights to China in the August bid war in Tokyo, Japan.
So far, of the 18 countries participating in the qualifiers, those which have signified intentions to bid for the hosting rights are Italy, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Mexico.
Bidding to become host is costly alone as countries are required to pay Fiba a bond worth euro 2m.
But Pangilinan in a press conference last week said the country will not only participate in the qualifiers but even bid for its hosting should the national team get the players it needs and be given ample time to prepare for the meet.
The SBP head got what he wanted on Wednesday after the PBA board made available the 17 players the cage body requested and at the same time, adjusted the league’s calendar to clear the way for a longer preparation and training by Gilas Pilipinas.
Pangilinan immediately expressed his gratitude to the league board under chairman Robert Non of San Miguel and president/CEO Chito Salud.
“We welcome the assistance of the PBA and the PBA board for its support,” said Pangilinan on his Twitter account@iammvp following his meeting with Panlilio.
“May God bless the Gilas team and our country, for this 2016 wild card qualifying,” added the chaiman of Smart and PLDT.
“SBP will forthwith file with Fiba, thru the Philippine Olympic Committee, the requisite Registration form – our intention to participate.”