SINGAPORE – The Philippines staging the 2019 Southeast Asian Games could have an adverse effect on the country’s chances of winning the hosting bid for the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
A source who asked not to be named said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is concerned about the recent offer made by the SEA Games Federation Council for the country to host the biennial meet four years from now.
The 28th edition of the SEA Games had just concluded in Singapore where the Philippines finished sixth overall.
While the Filipino athletes were busy campaigning in the region’s biggest sporting event, the SBP was also drumbeating the country’s hosting bid for the Fiba World Cup, highlighted by a rally around the Araneta Center in Cubao during Independence Day.
The Philippines and China are the two countries bidding for the staging of the world championship four years from now, the winner of which Fiba would announce in August.
In all likelihood, the Fiba World Cup will be held between July to October during the NBA offseason, while the SEA Games could be pencilled for a November or December staging if ever the Philippines formally accepts the hosting right.
SBP insiders however, are keeping their fingers crossed that the SEA Games hosting won’t hurt the country’s chances of bringing the Fiba World Cup for the first time in four decades.
“They might see it (SEA Games hosting) na baka hindi tayo focused sa pagho-host ng Fiba World Cup,” said the source, who cited Fiba’s decision to move its flagship tournament to an odd year to avoid clashing with events such as the more popular football World Cup.
The Philippines is relying heavily on the country’s passion for the sport to gain the right to host the world championship, last staged here in 1978.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, however, likes the prospects of having both the SEA Games and Fiba World Cup held here at the same time in 2019, saying it will only boost the country’s sporting image.
“Walang makikinabang dito kundi ang ating bansa especially sa sports tourism. Malalaman ng mga tao na maganda pala sa Pilipinas,” said Cojuangco, when asked about having the possibility of both the SEA Games and Fiba World Cup being held here.