SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan is optimistic about the country’s chances of being chosen as host of the 2013 Fiba-Asia Championship For Men.
Tentatively slated for July, the tournament serves as the qualifier for the Fiba-World Championship For Men in Spain two years from now.
Aside from the Philippines, also bidding for the hosting rights are Japan and Iran.
“The Philippines has a good chance of hosting the Fiba-Asia Championship next year,” said Pangilinan before leaving the country for another engagement abroad. “That’s a tournament of 16 nations, all national teams, because the Top 3 will qualify to the World Championship in Spain in 2014.”
The sports patron said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios will be accompanied by former Fiba-Asia secretary general Moying Martelino and PBA commissioner Chito Salud to Tokyo on September 18 to make a power point presentation on the country’s hosting bid before the Fiba-Asia executive board.
Top executives of the governing body of basketball in Asia are going to the Japanese capital in time for the Fiba Asia Cup (formerly Stankovic Cup) from September 14-22.
Getting the Fiba-Asia hosting rights is just the first step in Pangilinan's dream of seeing the country's players compete against the world's best.
However, he knows getting the nod of Fiba-Asia officials to host the biggest international basketball meet in this side of the world is not going to be easy, notwithstanding the fact that Fiba-Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian came away impressed when he made an ocular inspection of the Mall of Asia Arena when he visited the country two weeks ago.
But consistent with his desire to see the Philippine men’s cage team qualify again for the world championships, the SBP leader will try to pull out all the stops to bring back the Fiba-Asia tournament back to the country.
“We have to be realistic and manage expectations. We have to be one of the Top 3 in the Fiba-Asia when it’s held here in Manila, because we all want to go to Spain,” said Pangilinan, also the chairman of Smart and PLDT.
“Yun ang goal dapat ng SBP, ng PBA, ng buong bansa… to see the Philippine team compete with the world’s best, because that is the real Olympics of world basketball. And I would like to see these guys in the global stage,” he said.
The Philippines was the inaugural host of the Fiba-Asia meet (then known as the Asian Basketball Confederation Championships) in 1960. The tournament was last staged here in 1973.