THE Philippine Basketball Association will lend its full support to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas next week when the cage body lobbies for the country’s hosting of the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.
League commissioner Chito Salud confirmed he’ll form part of the delegation that travels to Tokyo on September 18 to make a case before executives of Fiba-Asia about the Philippines’ capability to stage an event as big as the qualifier for the 2014 Fiba-World Championships.
Salud will be with a small group of Filipino basketball officials travelling to the Japanese capital for the country’s presentation. The SBP will be led by president Manny Pangilinan, vice-chairman Ricky Vargas, executive director Sonny Barrios, and former Fiba-Asia secretary general Moying Martelino.
The PBA board of governors will also pitch in its support as Salud is going to be accompanied by chairman Robert Non, vice-chairman Ramon Segismundo, and treasurer Ely Capacio.
Aside from the Philippines, also bidding to host the 2013 Fiba-Asia meet are Iran and late entry Japan.
“I intend to impress upon our leaders in Fiba-Asia that the PBA is one with the SBP in its quest to regain basketball supremacy here in Asia,” said Salud. “Unequivocal is our support of SBP’s quest to host the Fiba-Asia qualifying tournament here in 2013 and we want to make sure (Fiba-Asia) secretary-general Hagop Khajirian of Lebanon gets that message."
The country hosted the inaugural staging of the biennial meet in 1960 when it was still known as the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship. A five-time winner – second in the history of the event – the Philippines last hosted the cagefest in 1973.
Salud believes Filipino basketball fans are excited about the prospect of having the Fiba-Asia championship here after Smart Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0 won the Jones Cup in Taipei.
He said the country’s chances of qualifying for the Fiba-World Championship in Spain two years from now would be even better if the meet is held here given the expected hot reception of the local fans and considering that the top three teams earn outright berths to the tournament many consider as the ‘Olympics of basketball.’
“We in the PBA stand side-by-side with Fiba and the SBP in making sure that Asian basketball is developed to its peak,” added Salud.