Fans urged: Be Nationals’ ‘sixth man’
Miriam Garcia Desacada (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - SBP vice president Al Panlilio urges the Filipino basketball fans to come out and rally behind Gilas Pilipinas and boost its homecourt advantage as Team Phl bids to land a berth in the Rio Olympics in the Manila Olympic qualifier.

“Let’s be a great sixth man,” said Panlilio, on top of all the preparations for the blue-ribbon MOA Arena event from July 5-10 as chief executive officer of the local organizing committee.

Even as tickets for all the Gilas games have already been sold out, Panlilio said Filipino fans could throw support in a series of events they’re putting up in the run-up and during the FIBA OQT.

To further drum up the event, the organizing group is featuring an OQT roadshow and is pitching a PLDT Global Village beside the MOA Arena.

“We’re on schedule and we’re preparing hard. Being prepared is not just hosting the FIBA OQT but a grand basketball festival,” said Panlilio, Manny V. Pangilinan’s personal choice as his successor as SBP president.

Pangilinan and SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas said they’re going all-out in the event for the Filipino basketball fans.

“Basketball is what the Filipinos love. It’s hard to turn your back on this,” said Pangilinan.

“We made a bid to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup. We failed but we never stopped. We’re bringing the FIBA OQT to the fans. We’re bringing it closer to them,” said Vargas.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said still on offer are tickets for Day Three, featuring France versus New Zealand and a Group B (featuring Canada, Turkey and Senegal) match.

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