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Learning from 2019 World Cup

SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan (extreme left) joins (from second left) FIBA president Horacio Muratore, Indonesian Basketball Association chairman Erick Thohir, Japanese Basketball Association president Yuko Mitsuya, FIBA sec-gen Patrick Baumann and FIBA Central Board member Hamane Niang on center stage after the Philippine-led consortium with Japan and Indonesia was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Mies, Switzerland, last Saturday.

GENEVA – FIBA sport and competitions director Predrag Bogosavljev of Serbia has advised SBP executive director Sonny Barrios to closely monitor the operations of the FIBA 2019 World Cup in China and learn from the experience so that when Manila hosts the 2023 edition, it will be smooth sailing.

Barrios said the other day he’ll put up a team to be known as the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to study the workings of the 2019 tournament that will welcome a record 32 teams. The 2023 version, to be jointly hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia in the group stages, will also bring in 32 countries.

The first group stage of the 2019 competition will be held at the 18,000-seat LeSports Center in Beijing, the 22,000-seat Youth Olympic Sports Park Gymnasium in Nanjing, the 13,000-seat Wuhan Gymnasium in Wuhan, the 18,000-seat Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, the 14,700-seat Metro Sports Arena in Foshan, the 18,000-seat International Sports Arena in Guangzhou, the 16,000-seat Nissan Sports Center in Dongguan and the 18,000-seat Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai. Each stadium will host one of the eight preliminary brackets in the first round. 

In 2023, Japan and Indonesia will host eight teams each while the Philippines, 16 in the first round. The quarterfinals up to the final will be held in Manila with the gold medal game earmarked for the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue.

Barrios said he’s not aware if FIBA will hold a turnover ceremony at the end of the 2019 tournament. In the Olympics, it is traditional for the host country to turn over the stage to the next host country in the closing ceremony. The turnover wasn’t held at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain because the host for the 2019 edition was decided a year later. But since FIBA awarded the hosting rights of the 2023 competition to the Philippine-led consortium in Mies last Saturday, a turnover is possible at the end of the 2019 tournament. If there is a turnover in 2019, that means the consortium will have decided on a theme, logo and mascot with FIBA clearance by then.

FIBA’s award to the consortium came with a strict condition that Indonesia has to form a competitive national team by 2021. “It doesn’t make sense to award an automatic qualifying slot to a country that will lose every game in the World Cup by 50 points,” said Bogosavljev. Indonesia Basketball Association chairman and SEABA president Erick Thohir assured the FIBA Central Board that he will take steps to bolster the national team by 2021. 

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Bogosavljev explained that the three countries in the consortium will be awarded automatic slots in the preliminaries of the 2023 World Cup. Under the usual format, seven slots are allocated for Asia/Pacific to include Australia and New Zealand. Since the hosts will be three countries in 2023, an extra or eighth slot is given to Asia/Pacific. The two other host countries will take two slots from the seven set aside for Asia/Pacific, leaving only five available for qualification likely to be claimed by China, Iran, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Barrios said the SBP has a lot on its plate at the moment. In February, Gilas will play Australia on the road on Feb. 22 and Japan at home on Feb. 25 in the second qualifying window leading to the 2019 World Cup. Gilas head coach Chot Reyes will submit a 24-man pool to FIBA 30 days before the window opens. Then, the SBP will stage the FIBA 3x3 World Cup involving 20 men and 20 women teams on June 8-12. FIBA 3x3 managing director Alex Sanchez of Spain is arriving here this weekend to announce the venue for the fifth edition of the annual 3x3 World Cup.

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