FIBA exec says PHL capable of hosting 2019 World Cup

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2015 - 5:28pm

MANILA, Philippines – FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann declared Friday the Philippines is capable of hosting the FIBA World Cup in 2019 and he’s hoping the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas completes all the necessary documents to formalize its bid for the event hosting on or before the deadline on April 30.

In a press conference at the Makati Shangri-La before flying back to the FIBA headquarters in Geneva, Baumann said: “Yes, they (the Philippines) can.”

Baumann said the Philippines impressed the three-man FIBA evaluation committee that came over in the country and spent four days inspecting basketball venues and discussing matters regarding the country’s bid to host the next world basketball championship.

“The commission has come into conclusion that yes, they can. That’s the important piece of conclusion from the commission that the Philippines can host the World Cup,” Baumann reiterated.

Commission chairman Lubomir Kotleba said what impressed them the most is the Filipinos’ great passion for the game.

“That ‘Puso’ is not only in the arena. We see the ‘Puso’ wherever we go. We saw that strong emotional dedication from your preparation (for the bid),” said Kotleba, accompanied in his Philippine visit by FIBA director of events Predrag Bogosavlev and media director general Frank Leenders.

Baumann flew in only Thursday to confer with the commission and the SBP officials.

Baumann agreed with Kotleba that the Filipinos have a big asset in being great basketball lovers.

 “Everyone somehow, somewhere has a contact with basketball. And this is huge asset because you are the only country that breathes basketball day in and day out,” said Baumann.

“This is certainly the best possible asset that you can have and bring to the table for the FIBA family altogether,” he added.

“With a country like yours. With spectators like yours – all experts, all complaining on the referees and all wanting to play at the same time. Yes, this is something extraordinary and we’re proud to have you as a (FIBA) member,” he pointed out.

In the end, Baumann, however, said it’s up to SBP how to get the nod of those who will make the decision.

“It’s up to them (SBP officials) to finalize the process and putting the documents in order and putting papers on the table and bringing them to the headquarters in FIBA so they can make the best possible impression,” said Baumann.

Others hoping to bring the event in their country are China, Qatar, Turkey and jointly Germany and France.

The Philippines has that burning passion but it doesn’t have all the infrastructures that China has in place already.

The SBP proposal is to use five playing venues – the Philippine Arena, Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia Arena and the soon-to-be-constructed Solaire Arena and SM Cebu Arena.

"The FIBA is looking at the 2019 event to be their quantum leap in enhancing their image. So this is really a big, big event," said SBP official Butch Antonio.

"With regards the venues, FIBA is more concerned with the off-playing venue like the media center, technical, VIP rooms," Antonio also said.

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