Sports honchos hope Cebu wins Fiba hosting bid

HAVING a state-of-the-art world class sports arena would give the Cebuanos a chance to witness big sporting events that could include the Fiba World Cup in 2019.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president and communication mogul Manny V. Pangilinan had announced his intentions to bid for the 2019 edition of the world basketball championship that would automatically give the country a slot without undergoing through rigorous qualifying tournaments.

Last July 17, Pangilinan had confirmed that SBP is bidding to host the 2019 Fiba World Championships, and would involve Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the Smart Araneta Colisum in Cubao, Quezon City, the newly-opened Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan and the soon-to-rise arena in Cebu City, which will be built by SM City Holdings.

“That would be good for our country since it will put us in the map as far as basketball is concerned. It is also good for tourism and good for our economy,” said Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy Jr.

Philippines had complied the first phase of the bidding process, which was the expression of interest which started last April and finished last June.

The Philippines is now in the Observer Programme at the current 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

The final bid presentation and announcement of the host nations by the Fiba Central board is slated in May 2015.

So far, the Philippines is the only Asian country who was a confirmed bidder for the next World Cup.

The other bidders include Germany, France, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Lithuania and Russia for Europe and Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Brazil for the Americas.

“I hope we win the bid because Cebu is going to be one of the venues. And with the showing of our team, the Fiba should consider holding it here.

It carries with it of course the basic and usual benefits like tourism among others,” basketball legend and one-time World Cup campaigner Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez added.

The last time Philippines hosted the the World Cup in 1978 in Manila.

In 2019, there will be 32 nations competing – 12 nations from Europe, 7 from the Americas, seven from Asia and Oceania, five from Africa and the host nation.

Fiba will adopt a new system of qualifying rounds – that includes home-an-away games in order to earn points to make the world stage.

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