MANILA, Philippines – Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said more work needs to be done as the one-year clock winds down on the Philippines’ co-hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Panlilio joined basketball officials, including FIBA president Hamane Niang, at the Mall of Asia Music Hall during the unveiling of the Tissot Countdown Clock, marking the final year before the World Cup tips off on August 25, 2023.
“We’ve been dreaming about this since we won the hosting on December 8, 2017, when we were in Mies, Switzerland,” Panlilio told reporters after the event on Saturday, August 27.
“That was almost four years ago. Here we are, 363 days to go, and we still have plenty of work to do.”
Along with co-hosts Japan and Indonesia, the Philippines has a tough act to follow as China staged a successful hosting of the 2019 World Cup.
China held the World Cup in eight different cities all over the country before the tournament culminated in its capital Beijing, with Spain beating Argentina in the final to claim the championship.
“We have a lot of work to do in making sure that we’re able to host the best World Cup we can,” Panlilio said. “We’ll never beat China in facilities, but experience is very important on court and off the court.”
“With the help of all Filipinos showcasing really what Filipino hospitality is all about, we’d like to share the culture of the Philippines to the world.”
Aside from hosting, Panlilio and the SBP are also tasked to form the best team possible for the World Cup as Gilas Pilipinas looks to bounce back from its horrendous showing in the previous edition.
The Philippines finished last among 32 participating countries in China after dropping all of its five games with an average losing margin of 29.4 points.
For Panlilio, Gilas Pilipinas’ recent 81-85 loss to Lebanon in the Asian Qualifiers, where NBA star Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto – considered World Cup cornerstones – played for the first time, showed promising signs.
“There is a bit unfamiliarity that is why there were a lot of turnovers. They were a bit overeager and jittery. But I think as we expose them more, they’ll get used to that kind of basketball,” Panlilio said.
“I’m seeing bright spots.” – Rappler.com