THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is going all out in its bid to win the hosting rights for one of three Fiba tournaments in July that will stake the final three places in the basketball competition of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said Manny V. Pangilinan has gathered his top basketball lieutenants to map out the Philippine bid which will once again be spearheaded by a foreign consultant and launched hand in hand with the tourism and foreign affairs department.
"We all know our boss MVP, basta para sa bayan, he won't hold anything back," Barrios told Spin.ph. "We're putting our best foot forward, as always."
Barrios said the SBP remained confident that it will win the rights to host one of the three wildcard qualifiers despite the late entry of Iran, which, if Fiba decides to spread the tournaments to its geographical zones, loom as the biggest rival of the Philippines in the Asian region.
Iran and the Philippines are among 10 countries which have expressed an intention to bid for the tournaments slated from July 4-10. The others are Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Serbia, and Turkey.
The Philippines, Barrios pointed out, has successfully hosted the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship as well as two Fiba 3x3 tournaments before losing out to China in a bidding war for the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
The former PBA commissioner is also confident the country will pass the five-point evaluation criteria set by the Fiba in determining the host countries, which include state-of-the-art facilities, experience in handling first-class events and providing the 'best possible conditions' for players.
Still, Barrios admitted the bidding war won't be easy.
This early, SBP has been busy putting together all the hard copies of pertinent documents which Fiba wants to have by November 11. The Fiba board is expected to make a decision on the hosts as well as the groupings of the 18 teams in the three tournaments during its executive meetings on November 23-24.
Among the requirements is the bidding fee pegged by Fiba at a minimum 1.75 million euros (about P90 million) which, although lower than the minimum of 8 million euros for the World Cup bidding, still entails a huge expense for a tournament that will run for just six days.
The tournament, in fact, will feature just six teams and five game days with a rest day squeezed in between, but Barrios said Pangilinan is sparing no expense for the chance to have Gilas Pilipinas play before a home crowd in a bid to make it back to the Olympic Games.