FIBA has finally acknowledged how mad this country is when it comes to basketball by giving the hosting rights of the 2023 Fiba World Cup to the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan. It’s a three-country hosting job but we all know Fiba agreed because of a passionate pitch that highlighted how mad the Filipinos are for the sport.
Remember those photos of the Yolanda survivors playing hoops that went viral? Or of a group of Pinoys playing basketball on flooded streets? Those are just some of the pictures that capture how, as the SBP team pitched it for Fiba, basketball is more than a game in the Philippines, it’s a way of life.
Manny V. Pangilinan, who spearheaded the challenge, said the semis and the finals will be played at the Philippine Arena, which means the Fiba World Cup will see record crowds, which is again a big boost to our image in international sports.
The Fiba World Cup will have the top 32 countries and I don’t know which group will be hosted by the three. However, I think that should Japan and the Philippines qualify, each will host their own group. Indonesia, the third co-host, has as much chance making the Fiba World Cup as we have making the football version, so I don’t know what groups it will be hosting.
We lost the bid for the 2019 World Cup to China and during the bid, Cebu was part of the package as SM Seaside was supposed to put up a world class venue similar to the MOA Arena. However, ever since SM and City Hall had a falling out, I’ve been told that plans for that arena has been shelved, so I guess this means Cebu is out of the picture in 2023.
Unless, of course, between now and 2023, the Cebu Coliseum gets a major makeover or we get a new venue. But again, that’s as likely as we making the Fifa World Cup.
Still, this is a chance for Cebuano fans, who need not travel abroad to see their favorite players in person. I think come 2023, tickets for the Fiba World Cup finals will be among the most sought-after items in the country, and we’re not even factoring in the fans from abroad who will fly in.
As one guy—who is obviously not a fan of this current admin—said it. There’s another thing to look forward to after 2022, start saving.