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MANILA, Philippines – A beauty queen is at the forefront of the Philippines’ promotion of its hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas tapped Catriona Gray as one of the local ambassadors for the global hoops showdown that the country will host together with Japan and Indonesia in August next year.
Gray said her role as a World Cup ambassador reminds her of the time she got crowned the 2018 Miss Universe, becoming the fourth Filipina to win the prestigious beauty pageant.
“Being able to not only represent the Philippines once again in this capacity, but to also encourage our countrymen to express their support and love for our athletes as they go out there and represent and really carry high the Philippine flag in the arena of sports, it gives me so much pride and joy,” Gray said during the “One Year To Go” press conference on Thursday, August 25.
“I really look forward to warmly welcoming the world and also our visitors here to the Philippines. I know that we will have a celebration like no other.”
Gray is no stranger to sports, particularly martial arts.
The Filipina-Australian stunner owns a black belt in choi kwang-do and pursued karate as a child.
As a World Cup ambassador, Gray wants to showcase Filipinos’ notable hospitality.
“I would love to share our culture, the values that are instilled in us Filipinos, and what more of a better way to do that than to warmly welcome people, to display our culture proudly in all of its aspects, to show them that there are no better fans than here in the Philippines,” Gray said.
Aside from Gray, also acting as the Philippines’ World Cup ambassadors are members of the 2013-2014 Gilas Pilipinas team led by LA Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Gary David, and Larry Fonacier.
That squad propelled the Philippines to its first World Cup appearance in 36 years in 2014 in Spain, where it went toe-to-toe with some of the best teams from around the world.
“We’re just very happy and we’re just very honored to be part of this big event a year from now. We’re thankful for the opportunity,” said Tenorio
“Before, when we were playing in 2014 in the World Cup, I’m sure you guys are cheering for us and a lot of these guys who are playing now for our team were cheering for us. Now, it is our time to give back.” – Rappler.com