Manny Pangilinan admits China a formidable adversary in 2019 World Cup bidding war: 'Nakakatakot eh'
SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan estimates it will take around P2 billion to host the 2019 Fiba World Cup. Jerome Ascano

SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan admitted the country faces a formidable adversary in China in the battle for the hosting rights of the 2019 Fiba World Cup.

The fight for the right to host basketball's showpiece event is down to the Philippines and China after world governing body Fiba announced on Tuesday the 2019 World Cup will be held in Asia.

Pangilinan, who has brought the memorable 2013 Fiba-Asia championships to Manila, admitted the country faces an uphill battle in its bid to host the world championships for the first time since 1978. 

“Nakakatakot eh,” the businessman-sportsman said. “China is a formidable bidder.”

The SBP president is also bracing for a very expensive endeavor, estimating that it will take no less than P2 billion to host the 16-day, 32-team conclave in handpicked venues in both Manila and Cebu.

“Malaking pera rin ‘yan eh,” the tycoon and sports patron said in a short chat with on Wednesday after the launch of the partnership between Talk ‘N Text and Facebook through the social media site’s app.

[See PH has one distinct edge over China in 2019 bidding war, says Chot Reyes]

The SBP has already spent over P4 million for the observation program and its formal intent to bid last year. It will also need to shell out a hosting right fee of 8 million euros or around P460 million if the nation wins.

MVP, however, made it clear he intends to win.

“I don’t want to predict what our chances are,” Pangilinan said. “We’ll just do our best.”

If the Philippines beats China in the bidding war, Gilas Pilipinas will gain an automatic ticket to the tournament. The national team played in the last World Cup in Seville, Spain.

The host nation will be known by June.

“We shall endeavor to put our best foot forward as we work on the finalization of our bid offer,” the SBP said in a statement released to media outlets.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos