FIBA-Asia Championship now, the Fiba 3x3 Under-18 World Championship later.
Sonny Barrios, the executive director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), said the federation is now considering bidding for the right to stage the U-18 world 3x3 event two years from now.
The plan comes in the aftermath of the country’s successful hosting of the 27th Fiba-Asia Championship.
Barrios said on Tuesday at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum that even before the qualifier to the 2014 Fiba-World Cup was held here, the SBP already received a letter from the world governing body of the sport on whether it is interested in hosting the event set for June 2015.
Barrios added SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan told him to take a closer look at the feasibility of holding here a basketball event of world magnitude.
“He (MVP) said let’s take a serious look at it,” said Barrios in the same session. “But that was before this hosting of the Fiba-Asia Championship. Actually, ang Fiba sumulat sa lahat ng mga interesadong mag-host ng 3-on-3.”
“But I told Mr. Pangilinan na hintayin muna natin `yung result ng (Fiba-Asia) hosting. Maganda `yung hosting experience natin, a lot of lessons were learned.”
Indonesia is hosting the 3x3 U18 world meet this year, with Rimini, Italy and Alcobendas, Spain staging the first two editions in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The 3-on-3 tournament is the new event Fiba is trying to promote in helping globalize basketball. It features two teams of three players each playing on a standard half-court.
According to Barrios, Fiba-Asia officials were more than satisfied with the way the biennial meet was hosted by the country for the first time in 40 years.
“While it may not be perfect, they (Fiba-Asia) were lauding us, thanking us. More than satisfactory, they were overwhelmed by the public’s response. Hindi nila sukat akalain `yung support ng public,” said the former PBA commissioner.
Barrios added he won’t even be surprised if Fiba will try to use the country’s recent hosting as model image of the world basketball federation.
“They (Fiba) are on an aggressive marketing blitz to sell basketball to the world kaya hindi ako magugulat kung magiging image model tayo ng basketball hosting,” he said.
The huge crowd response was one of the major factors for the success of Gilas Pilipinas, which qualified for a berth in the Fiba-World Cup next year in Spain following its silver medal finish in the Fiba-Asia behind eventual champion Iran.
As for what’s the next step of the national team and coach Chot Reyes as they gear up for the country’s first stint in the world championship after 1978, Barrios would rather not speculate at the moment.
“What’s next, wala pa akong sagot doon. Allow us to savor the victory first kahit isang linggo lang,” the SBP executive said while smiling.
“Malaking pangtanggal ng pagod at paghihirap yung napasaya natin ang sambayanang Pilipino.”