MVP on FIBA bid: I don’t think China has the ‘heartware’

Jane Bracher
MVP on FIBA bid: I don’t think China has the ‘heartware’
"I don't think China has the 'heartware' that we will show," says Manny V. Pangilinan. "Whereas in the Philippines, basketball is number one."

MANILA, Philippines — National basketball team primary patron Manny V. Pangilinan expressed confidence ahead of the Philippines’ August 7 bid to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

He explained that the Philippines is neck and neck with powerhouse China, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics among other regular FIBA events such as this year’s Asia Championship. 

“China is formidable competition for the bid, at least from one perspective, which is the hardware of the event,” the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president admitted Wednesday, July 22 during a media briefing of the country’s bid. 

“From the perspective of a sporting event — that is the facilities, infrastructure, ability to host it — I believe we can,” he elaborated. “China has done it in a scale not done in the Philippines and we do have to meet basic requirements of FIBA. I think we can meet that.

“Beyond that, it’s a media event too. I don’t think China has the ‘heartware’ that we will show, whereas in the Philippines, basketball is number one.”

Pangilinan spearheaded the initiative to bid after successfully hosting the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and as national men’s basketball team Gilas Pilipinas picked up steam over the last two years, earning a silver at the 2013 continental tourney and then claiming its first FIBA Basketball World Cup victory in 40 years in Spain last year.

Right after Gilas’ World Cup stint, Pangilinan dove into the process of possibly hosting the world competition, which will be unprecedented in its own right as it will now happen in a different year from the FIFA World Cup and it will also have a new format. 

The Philippines is banking on basketball being the consensus number one sport in the country coupled with natives’ immense passion for it as it bids against China.

According to SBP bid consultants, the FIBA Central Board, which will announce the host right after the pitches, is looking for something more than just a country that can execute and deliver the next World Cup.

“It’s not just the passion, it’s what that passion translates to,” said consultant Sean Nicholls, president of Octagon, “a leader in sports marketing, talent representation, event management, entertainment marketing, and research,” according to its website. 

“FIBA wants to take the World Cup and basketball as a sport to the next level. They will make a decision based on who they believe can help them achieve their goals.”

The SBP also initiated an engagement campaign called “#PUSO2019,” which creates awareness for the bid and will continue to build up until August 7. 

“FIBA wants a quantum leap as a result of this event (2019 World Cup),” Pangilinan said. “So that’s what we want to show in the bid.” 

The bid will take place in Tokyo, Japan with both countries given a couple of days time to rehearse. A final dress rehearsal will happen on the morning of August 7 before the afternoon pitch.

Both the Philippines and China will be given 20 minutes each to make their final case. After the two nations present, there will be a closed door question and and answer session between the presenters and the board. 

After which, the FIBA Central Board will deliberate and vote, and then will announce the winner. —

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