MANILA, Philippines – If it’s too easy, it’s probably not worth it.
Manny V. Pangilinan, the national basketball team’s primary patron and president of the country’s basketball federation, says he is willing to take risks and go up against top basketball countries to bring the FIBA World Cup to the Philippines.
Pangilinan is spearheading the country’s bid to host the tournament slated in 2019.
According to reports, more or less P4 million has already been spent for the initial part of the bidding process. Twenty thousand Euros, or around P1.2 million went to the Observer Programme in Madrid last September and €50,000 (P2.8 million) was paid along with the submission of the bid application questionnaire – the deadline of which was last Friday, October 31.
“It’s an infinitely more complex undertaking compared to FIBA Asia last year,” MVP told reporters.
“We’ve seen how Spain hosted the FIBA World Cup. We were warned by FIBA that this is around 10 times as big as the FIBA Asia hosting in 2013. Alam namin yun eh (We know that).”
It is certainly going to be a tough challenge with the Philippines – whose national team played in the world tourney for the first time in 4 decades this past August – competing against basketball giants like China in the bidding.
“Mabibigat ang kalaban (like) China,” MVP said. “I think some other countries like France and Germany will probably bid. I don’t know who will bid but I suspect yun ang mga maga-apply (they will apply).”
One powerhouse that confirmed it was bidding is Brazil, host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. They also hosted this year’s FIFA World Cup.
FIBA is looking to up the ante of its flagship tournament with the rescheduling of the competition to 2019 instead of 2018. It will mark the first time since 1967 that the basketball World Cup will not coincide with the FIFA World Cup.
The competition will also be bigger with the expansion of its group stage from 24 teams to to 32.
One major concern for the bid, which became even more crucial due to the increased number of teams, is the playing venue. The minimum number of venues required is 4.
Pangilinan bared he is eyeing the new SM Arena set to rise in Cebu as a potential venue.
“Kung matapos yung SM Arena sa Cebu (If the SM Arena in Cebu is finished in time) that will be an excellent venue. Some of the teams can play there,” he said.
“Hindi lang naman dapat sa Metro Manila. Sana sa ibang ciudad pa sa probinsya gumawa ng stadium so they (visitors) can see the Philippines, and people in the province can actually watch foreign teams participate.” (It doesn’t have to be just in Metro Manila. I hope in other cities in the provinces stadiums will be built so they can see the Philippines, and people in the province can actually watch foreign teams participate.)
During this year’s World Cup, Spain utilized 6 venues with the group stages played in 4 different cities. The playoffs as well as the battle for third and the finals were played in the country’s capital of Madrid.
When the Philippines hosted the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, two venues were used: the Mall of Asia Arena, which was the primary venue, and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
By the end of November, FIBA will announce the shortlisted nations which will then go through workshops and on-site inspections before the final bid presentations and awarding in May 2015.
“I think malaking karangalan sa bansa kung manalo tayo,” said MVP. “Hopefully, we’ll be in the shortlist of FIBA and tignan natin.” (I think it will be a great honor to the country if we win. Hopefully, we’ll be in the shortlist of FIBA and then we’ll see.)
Below is a rundown of the bidding calendar as stated in a FIBA announcement:
Expression of interest phase:
1. April 2014 – Request for Expressions of Interest issued
2. June 9, 2014 – Deadline for return of Expressions of Interest to FIBA
1. August 2014 – Deadline for applications to Observer Programme at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup
2. September 2014 – Observer Programme at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain
3. October 2014 – Deadline for submission of Bid Application Questionnaires
1. November 2014 – Announcement of candidates by FIBA
2. December 2014 – Workshop for candidates held in Geneva, Switzerland
3. January – February 2015 – On-site inspection visits
4. April 2015 – Deadline for submission of final Candidature files
5. May 2015 – Final bid presentations and announcement of FIBA Central Board decision
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