NBA

Manny V. Pangilinan said the infrastructure will be ready and available in six years when the Philippines hosts the FIBA World Cup in 2023.

FIBA World Cup: Venues will be ready in 2023
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Manny V. Pangilinan has given the assurance that the Philippines will have the adequate venues in place and in time for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

The man behind the country’s hosting of basketball’s biggest event said the infrastructure will be ready and available in six years, especially the competition venues.

The Philippines will co-host the event with Japan and Indonesia. But as lead country, it will host 16 of the 32 teams, the other half divided between the two other host cities of Okinawa and Jakarta.

“The other factor why we lost to China in 2015 (for the hosting of the 2019 FIBA World Cup) is that we did not have enough venues,” said Pangilinan during a press conference the other day.

China simply had the big upperhand on this aspect, offering eight host cities in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, with venues that have seating capacities of 14,000 to 22,000.

China, according to MVP, also “probably offered more money than we did.”

But the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has secured the hosting of the event in 2023, and work has to begin.

The Philippines will host games, hopefully nine of them featuring the United States, at the Mall of Asia Arena, Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Philippine Arena.

But Pangilinan said there’s work to be done with the Smart Araneta Coliseum, which enjoys a major tie-up with Smart Communications, a firm headed by MVP.

“The Araneta needs to be fixed. That’s one of the conditions (set by FIBA),” he said.

Because the MOA Arena and the Philippine Arena are the newer venues, there’s not much to be done in terms of renovation and meeting FIBA standards.

“They are probably the best basketball venues in the world,” said MVP.

Representatives of the three venues were present during the press conference also graced by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and the SBP top brass, includiing Al Panlilio, Rep. Robbie Puno, Ricky Vargas and Sonny Barrios.

“We need to talk to the owners of Araneta. We need to put up a dedicated media room and FIBA doesn’t want the players to be walking openly from the playing court to the dugouts,” said MVP.

“There are things to do,” he added.

There’s no other venue for basketball in the world bigger than the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. As proof, the deciding game in PBA Governors Cup finals between Ginebra and Meralco a couple of months ago drew a massive crowd of over 54,000.

Since the semis and finals of the 2023 World Cup will be staged at the Philippine Arena, the SBP is confident of breaking the record of the biggest crowd attendance in the FIBA match – 35,000 in Rio de Janerio in the 1954 edition.

“Not only in terms of tourism and goodwill, we will show the people what we Filipinos are made of. We breathe basketball. In 2023 everybody will see the best of the Filipino,” said Puno.

“We will showcase the Philippines,” added Cayetano.

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