NATIONAL youth coach Jamike Jarin is thrilled at the prospect of the Philippines hosting the Fiba-Asia Under-18 Championship, but admitted doing so won't be easy for the country's basketball officials.
“Siyempre naman,” was Jarin's resounding when asked if he liked the prospect of his Under-18 team featuring Kobe Paras seeing action before home fans in the Asian showpiece.
The hosting of the tournament became up for grabs after Fiba-Asia announced that Doha has backed out as host of the event set to be played from August 18 to 26 for still unknown reasons.
The last time the Philippines hosted the Under-18 basketball championship was in 1995 when Fiba-Asia was still known as the Asian Basketball Confederation. South Korea won the title.
The last Asian youth title the Philippines won came in 1982, when a team coached by Ron Jacobs and led by Hector Calma and the late Alfie Almario won the Under-19 title in Manila.
Jarin said holding the Under-18 championships in Manila will be a big treat to fans, especially coming just a year after the successful hosting of the Fiba-Asia Men's Championship in Manila.
There has been no official word from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), headed by Manny V. Pangilinan, on the Philippines possibly bidding for the hosting of the event.
“Karangalan sa atin yan. If you look at it, excited lahat kapag nagho-host tayo dahil sa nangyari sa Gilas. Malaking bagay na ‘yung mga Pilipino nag-uunite at magkakampi tayong lahat,” said Jarin, who is also the head coach of the Under-17 team bound for the world championship in Dubai from August 8 to 16.
Jarin, however, the eventual host of the tournament will be facing a tough task considering the time constraints.
The SBP, he added, is also preoccupied with the men's team's upcoming stint in the Fiba World Cup in Spain as well as in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“I’m not in a liberty to decide. Mahirap din dahil sa oras," Jarin said. "Everybody is also busy with Gilas (in the Fiba World Cup) and the Under-17 team."