BOXING superstar Manny Pacquiao was part of the advanced party for the Philippines when it formally bids for the hosting of the 2019 FIBA World Cup this Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
The 36-year-old Pacquiao arrived in the Japanese capital on Tuesday afternoon accompanied by wife Jinkee, also vice-governor of the province of Sarangani, his public information officer Aqui Zonio, along with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) deputy director for international affairs Butch Antonio.
Pacquiao and Co. will join SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, who was in Tokyo as early as Monday.
The main Philippine delegation, headed by SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, leaves for Japan on Wednesday.
Antonio said he’s not exactly familiar with how the presentation will go, although Fil-Am Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips is likely to say a short speech before the Fiba Central Committee to start the pitch in for the country the hosting of the world basketball championship four years from now.
The SBP official said he’s not aware if Pacquiao, the playing-coach of Mahindra (formerly KIA Motors) in the PBA and a certified basketball fanatic, would do the same.
The Philippines is in a bidding battle with mighty China for the right to host the event considered as the Olympics of basketball.
Each country will be given a chance to do a 20-minute presentation to make a case for their respective hosting bids, with China taking centerstage first.
“As a world champion and now, a congressman, I always stand up for what I believe is right. And I believe our country hosting the Fiba World Cup is right not just for the Philippines, but right for the sport of basketball on a worldwide scale,” said Pacquiao in a statement.
“That’s why I’m standing right behind our bid committee when it presents in Tokyo. We are the one country that can give basketball the worldwide attention it deserves and can help take the sport to the next level,” added the legendary Filipino boxer.
A photo posted by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) on Aug 3, 2015 at 11:28pm PDT