Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilian thought it was impossible for Asia to host the FIBA World Cup again after China secured the hosting rights this year. However, the impossibility happened with the creative ideas that harness the resources of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan to bid for this prestigious tournament. 

The three Asian countries were granted the hosting rights for the next FIBA World Cup which is scheduled to happen in 2023. Manila will host 16 countries for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final while Jakarta and Okinawa will host eight respectively in the preliminaries. 

“Happy for all Filipinos. It thought it was impossible because 2019 was in Asia. Unlikely to get repeated in Asia but we did it,” Pangilinan said. 

On Sunday night, in a ceremony during the halftime of the FIBA World Cup Finals between Spain and Argentina, the Basketball Association of the People’s Republic of China President Yao Ming turned over the FIBA flag to Pangilinan as sign of transferring the hosting rights to the Philippines as the main host the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“We’re bringing home the FIBA flag with us,” Pangilinan said in a series of tweets. 

“A huge honor and privilege for SBP and great pride for our people. Thank you so much to all of you for your support. You inspire us and give us the energy and spirit to keep trying.”

The SBP chairman emeritus also expressed his gratitude towards the President for the support he gives to association. 

“In particular, my thanks to President Duterte for his kind encouragement and presence to Gilas and our hosting. Our sincere gratitude also goes to the FIBA Central Board and the FIBA staff.” 

“My special thanks go to Señor Horacio Muratore, outgoing FIBA president and most especially, to the late FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann whose memory I recall with personal fondness. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas,” Pangilinan added. 

He said that the journey of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan to hosting a successful FIBA World Cup in 2023 has started. 

“It starts with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), the Steering Committee with Japan and Indonesia and the Gilas Team 2023,” he said.

“In bringing all this effort to fruition in 2023 and in showing what we Filipinos can offer the world, I ask for your prayers and help for the SBP.”

The FIBA Central Board gathered before the final game to hold its first meeting under the newly-elected president Hamane Niang of Mali for the 2019-2023 term. Pangilinan, who is serving his second consecutive four-year term, was appointed to be a member of the Central Board, alongside Yao, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum of the United States, and Richard Carrion of Puerto, and other 20 more members. 

Meanwhile, SBP president Al Panlilio will serve as the event direct for the 2023 FIBA World Cup whereas John Lucas will head the LOC Joint Management Committee. Panlilio and Lucas will, on the other hand, be joined by a representative each from Japan, Indonesia, and FIBA to form the “master” Joint Management or Steering Committee. 

In addition, Manila will also stage the World Cup draw, FIBA Congress, as well as the first FIBA Central Board meeting for the 2023-2027 term. 

In November, Manila will host the second alignment meeting that will involve FIBA and the other hosting countries. Jakarta, on the other hand, hosted first alignment meeting and the third will be in Tokyo, which is expected to happen during the first quarter of next year. 

Pangilinan’s orders, according to SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, are to establish “a great experience for the players, coaches, officials and the fans” with the Filipinos’ hospitality and efficiency in staging a world-class competition. 

He also aims to set a new attendance record for a FIBA World Cup final and beat the 35,00 set when the US and Brazil contended for the title in 1954 at the Maracanazinho Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Barrios said the final game will be held at the Philippine Arena which fills 50,000 seats. 


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