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Philippines submits bid to host 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship For Men

September 27, 2011 8:01pm
Chances are Filipino basketball fans can see the likes of Asian stars Yi Jianlian, Wang Zhizhi and Sun Yue of China, Iran's Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Sam Daghles and Rasheim Wright of Jordan, Chinese Taipei's Lin Chih-chieh and Takuya Kawamura of Japan in the flesh in 2013.

The best basketball players in the region are likely to play in Manila should the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) award the Philippines the hosting of the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship For Men.

In a short but worthwhile meeting with FIBA's top officials a few days ago, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan said the Philippines plans to submit a bid of hosting the tournament, serving as qualifier to the 2014 World Basketball Championship in Spain.

The country has not hosted the biennial meet since 1973 when it was still known as the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship.

"I told Mr. Baumann that we will make our bid. And they told us that the deadline of bidding is until the end of September," said Pangilinan of his meeting with FIBA president Ivan Mainini and secretary general Patrick Baumann at the close of the 26th edition of the FIBA-Asia tournament recently held in Wuhan, China.

Yi, the Washington Wizards' power forward, steered China back to the championship with a pulsating 70-69 win over Wright and Jordan in Sunday's final. The 23-year-old Chinese was named the tournament MVP and a member of the Mythical Team together with Iran's Haddadi and Bahrami, Daghles of Jordan and Japan's Kawamura.

So far, Lebanon has already signified its intention to host the next FIBA-Asia it was supposed to stage this year, but abandoned later on owing to unfavorable playing condition.

"Of course, we'll be up against other countries which want to host the tournament. But let's see what we can do," Pangilinan added.

What could tilt the balance in favor of the Philippines, however, is the construction of a new basketball coliseum at the Mall of Asia, and the subsequent refurbishing of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

"I also told them that businessman Henry Sy is building a new coliseum. And then we will refurbish the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, so we'll have two good venues for basketball," said the business mogul.

Hosting the tournament, which also serves as the Asian qualifier to the 2016 Olympics, is likewise a big follow up to the country's modest finish in Wuhan where Smart Gilas-Pilipinas placed fourth after advancing to the medal round for the first time in the last 24 years.

In addition, hosting the event would similarly enhance the national team's shot for one of three slots at stake for the world championship.

Pangilinan has vowed to continue Gilas' basketball program all the way through 2013.

"So at least until that time, we'll re-organize the program and see whether we can qualify to the 2014 world championship," said the SBP president. — JVP, GMA News
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