PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio admitted ‘more things need to be done’ in the country’s ambitious bid to secure the hosting rights of the 2019 edition of the Fiba World Cup.
Fresh from a two-day workshop in Geneva as part of the bidding process, Gregorio said financial matters, infrastructure, and a lot of hard work will factor in the selection process as a five-man Fiba team begins its four-day, on-site inspection here from January 26-30.
“What we have to do is prepare hard so that we can be ready by the time they (Fiba officials) visit the country on January 26-30,” Gregorio told Spin.ph.
Gregorio, who is also board of governor of Talk `N Text, was part of the six-man Philippine delegation which attended the workshop in Switzerland along with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios, and SBP deputy executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio.
Completing the group were Tourism Undersecretary and CEO Domingo Ramon Enerio III, SBP logistics consultant Andrew Teh, and Sean Nicholls, president of Octagon Asia-Pacific, a renowned sports marketing and advertising firm based in Sydney.
Gregorio is convinced the Philippines, a known basketball-crazy nation around the world, can contribute a lot to the continuous growth of the sport.
At the same time, he stressed the Fiba-World Cup will be a perfect avenue to promote sports tourism in the country.
“One of the criteria in the bidding is the legacy or contributions (of the host country) to basketball,” Gregorio said.
“And the main point is that MVP (SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan) wants to win the bid and I’m sure the Filipino people will be behind this, and the government will be behind this because it’s a great sports tourism,” he added.
The PBA chairman cited the country’s three existing playing venues – the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, the Smart-Araneta Coliseum at the heart of Cubao, and the newly-built, 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bulacan as key basketball sites for the 2019 basketball showpiece.
The on-site inspection will be followed by the submission of final candidature files in April, and the final bid presentations and announcement of the host nation by the Fiba Central Board in May.
Aside from the Philippines, which last hosted the world championships in 1978, Germany and France are also making a bid, along with China, Turkey, and Qatar, reportedly the frontrunner in the hosting bid.
Six cities around Spain hosted this year’s World Cup from August 30 to September 14, with the United States whipping Serbia, 129-92, in the final game at the Palacio de la Communidad de Madrid for the Americans’ fifth world championship.
Gilas Pilipinas, which registered its first ever World Cup victory after 40 years following its 81-79 overtime win over Senegal, finished 21st overall, ahead of preliminary round qualifiers Finland, South Korea, and Egypt.