MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The giants have prevailed.
China outclassed the Philippines in the final presentations to become the official host of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the FIBA Central Board announced Friday, August 7 in Tokyo, Japan.
This is the second major hosting victory for China in a week as it also won the rights to host the 2022 Winter Olympics last Friday, July 31.
China, which will host the World Cup for the first time, is no stranger to mounting large-scale sporting events as it also played host to the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games as well as regular FIBA events.
China's bid, dubbed "More than ever,"played up the 2019 tournament as the biggest World Cup ever with "more qualification games in the years leading up to the event, more teams, more host cities, more audiences." They also hyped up promotion, marketing and China's strong economy.
They are eyeing 8 cities as venues for the event. They backed that up right away with proof of modern transportation such as bullet trains for convenient transfer from city to city and high-class hotels that they claim are fit for big basketball players such as their own 7-foot-6 Yao Ming, former NBA star.
Yao Ming told the Philippine delegation, however, that he liked their presentation. (READ: Yao Ming to PH: 'Your presentation better than ours')
Filipinos made themselves heard on social media through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas-intiated engagement campaign called #PUSO2019. Filipinos from around the world tweeted messages of support and encouragement for the bid.
PH: Tugging at heartstrings
But most made their case directly to FIBA by tagging its official account, explaining why the Philippines should host, complete with anecdotes and photos of basketball life and culture in local streets.
The Philippines aimed to tug at the Board's and viewers' heartstrings, showing them the "Philippine basketball story" with images, videos and testimonies about how basketball is weaved tightly into the cultural fabric of Filipinos.
Presenters for the Philippine pitch were business tycoon and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan; Filipino Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips; former national team player Jimmy Alapag; and former national team head coach Chot Reyes.
The Philippine presentation highlighted "the things you can't manufacture" in the Philippines, such as the atmosphere of a World Cup and the natural affinity of Filipinos for basketball, which it said can bring in crowds and convert thousands more.
Basketball's world governing body made the decision after a stringent process that began right after last year's World Cup in Spain, and culiminated Friday in Tokyo with 20-minute presentations from each country followed by question-and-answer sessions.
The Philippine delegation included Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Pangilinan, Reyes, Alapag, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Filipino Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips. (IN PHOTOS: Manny Pacquiao, Yao Ming at 2019 FIBA World Cup final bid)
China had Yao Ming in its corner. – Rappler.com