SBP chairman emeritus and FIBA Central Board member Manny V. Pangilinan (center) with FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis (left) and SBP president Al Panlilio.
Joaquin Henson
MVP sets sights on 2023 World Cup
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2019 - 12:00am

SHENZHEN – While the focus of attention was on this year’s FIBA World Cup, SBP chairman emeritus and FIBA Central Board member Manny V. Pangilinan held a productive meeting with FIBA treasurer Ingo Weiss the other day to discuss details related to the Philippines’ role as lead host in the staging of the 2023 edition.

MVP also met with FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis and other FIBA officials. “Andreas is a very warm person and a good friend,” said MVP. SBP president Al Panlilio said Zagklis is familiar with the concerns and issues surrounding Philippine basketball. “We’ve met Andreas before and as previous head of FIBA’s legal commission, he has interacted with the SBP’s Atty. Aga Francisco,” said Panlilio.

MVP said the SBP will announce developments in discussions with FIBA as they transpire. He attended the draw at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center last Saturday night then rode a car for the 1 1/2 drive to Hong Kong. PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said MVP’s meetings with FIBA officials were positive and were mainly on preparations to host the 2023 World Cup. Indonesia and Japan are co-hosting with the Philippines. But the quarterfinals, semifinals and final will be held in the Philippines with the gold medal game likely at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

Panlilio said there was also an exchange of observations regarding the recent World Cup Qualifiers. “We talked about the schedule,” he said. “For the 2019 World Cup, FIBA did six qualifying windows where a country played two games in each window. For the 2023 World Cup, FIBA is reviewing the format. One suggestion is to do only four windows but with more games each window, perhaps three instead of two. We support FIBA’s initiative of holding home-and-away games as it gives home fans the opportunity to watch their national teams play on a regular basis.”

This year’s World Cup will bring back the classification stage that was previously held in 2010 but skipped in 2014. Panlilio said since automatic Olympic slots will be awarded to seven countries at the end of the World Cup, the classification stage could be crucial in determining the qualifiers. The top African finisher, the top two Americas finishers, the top two European finishers, the top Oceania finisher and the top Asian finisher in the World Cup will gain automatic entry into the Tokyo Games. Since host Japan has a guaranteed ticket, the top Asian finisher could be China or Iran or South Korea or Jordan or the Philippines. Either Australia or New Zealand will claim the slot for Oceania. In the World Cup Qualifiers, Australia and New Zealand played in the combined Asia/Oceania zones.

In the draw, the 32 participating countries were assigned groups of four each for the first round of eliminations. Host China, the Ivory Coast, Poland and Venezuela were picked for Group A. Russia, Argentina, South Korea and Nigeria were in Group B. Spain, Iran, Puerto Rico and Tunisia were in Group C. Angola, the Philippines, Italy and Serbia were in Group D. Turkey, Czech Republic, USA and Japan were in Group E. Greece, New Zealand, Brazil and Montenegro were in Group F. The Dominican Republic, France, Germany and Jordan were in Group G. Canada, Senegal, Lithuania and Australia were in Group H.

Group A games will be played in Beijing with Group B in Wuhan, Group C in Guangzhou, Group D in Foshan, Group E in Shanghai, Group F in Nanjing, Group G in Shenzhen and Group H in Dongguan.

The Philippines will see action in the first round in Foshan, an industrial city where most of the world’s golf equipment is manufactured in two factories. If the Philippines advances to the second round, it will stay in Foshan to play three more contests. If Gilas fails to advance, it will be relegated to the classification round in Guangzhou. Foshan is in Guangdong province with a population of over 7.2 million. In 2014, it hosted the Foshan Open golf event on the European Challenge Tour. There is a Bruce Lee Park in Foshan in memory of the martial arts legend whose late instructor Ip Man was from the city.

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