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Sports

MVP, Pacman, fil-am star lead Philippine contingent: Bidders, boosters Tokyo bound

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao, Hollywood actor/director Lou Diamond Phillips and a host of government leaders banner a high-profile cast who will help make the last pitch for the Philippines’ bid to win the hosting rights for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Pacquiao and his entourage left early for Tokyo where Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario, Sen. Sonny Angara and Reps. Robbie Puno and Reynaldo Umali are also headed today to be with the Philippine contingent for the final presentation in the bidding war for the prestigious world meet tomorrow.

Outgoing PBA board chairman Patrick Gregorio and PBA president/CEO Chito Salud lead a group from the Philippine basketball sector leaving the country via a PAL flight this morning.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan and his group fly to the Japanese capital via a private plane.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios led those who flew ahead to make all the necessary arrangements for Team Phl in the blue-ribbon affair with the FIBA Central Board and bidding rival China.

“We go all-out to support our country’s bid. Basketball is the most popular sport in the country, it is one sport closest to the Filipinos heart and hopefully we will be named host,” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao and Phillips are booked at the Prince Park Hotel where the event is to be held. The other Filipino VIPs stay at Four Seasons and at Grand Hyatt.

TV5 Sports head Chot Reyes and former Gilas skipper Jimmy Alapag took separate flights to Tokyo yesterday. They will be the speakers during the audio-visual presentation.

Both countries are set to face the FIBA Central Board in a 20-minute audio-visual presentation and in closed-door, question-and-answer session.

The bidding countries are allowed to bring in a viewing delegation of 30 each. The presentations will reportedly be accessible via live streaming on the FIBA website.

In the run-up to the Tokyo event, Team Phl reinforced its efforts in driving online support and awareness of its “passionate, innovative and game-changing” campaign to host the World Cup through the increasingly popular hashtag, #PUSO2019.

Its pages have been set up on both Facebook and Twitter, encouraging every Filipino to share their passion and make their voice count.

Pangilinan earlier said hosting the event will mean a lot to the country.

“In the Philippines, basketball is life. It is part of our cultural fabric and the number one sport which people throughout the country follow devotedly every day,” he said.

“The opportunity to receive the honor of hosting the FIBA Basketball World Cup would provoke extraordinary national pride. And as the social media capital of the world, that’s something that would inevitably be felt and talked about worldwide,” Pangilinan added.

Pangilinan said the hosting, if achieved, would be a total team effort between the government and the private sector.

 

ACIRC

BASKETBALL WORLD CUP

CENTRAL BOARD

CHITO SALUD

CHOT REYES

FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

FOREIGN AFFAIRS SEC

FOUR SEASONS

PANGILINAN

TEAM PHL

WORLD CUP

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