MANILA, Philippines – Jimmy Alapag called on all Filipino basketball fans to participate in a rally that aims to bolster the Philippines' bid to host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The rally will be held at 12:30 PM on Independence Day Friday, June 12 at the parking by the Smart Araneta Coliseum red gate.
"Our plan is to invite all of the passionate and basketball-loving fans of Gilas and Philippine basketball to rally to give everyone an opportunity to be a part of a historic event for our country and our bid to win the FIBA World Cup for 2019," said the former Gilas Pilipinas team captain Alapag on Tuesday, June 9.
"From the FIBA Asia in Manila and everyone knows our World Cup appearance last year in Sevilla, Spain – I think FIBA already knows the impact basketball has on our country," said Alapag, who now represents the Philippines in the FIBA Players' commission for the 2014-2019 term.
"This World Cup bid really gives all of us here in our country an opportunity to show how passionate we are about the game and how big it would be, not just for basketball but for Philippine sports and our entire country, to have the World Cup in 2019 here on home soil."
Gilas Pilipinas players, PBA stars and TV5 celebrities will grace the event, which will be documented and included in the bid presentation.
With the fan rally, the Philippines hopes to further justify its "Most Valuable Fans" award from the 2014 World Cup in Spain, where the country put on a surprise performance and won its first game at the tournament after more than 4 decades.
The Philippines and China are formal candidates vying to host one of the biggest and most acclaimed world basketball tournaments in 2019. The final bid presentation will happen in August, after which the world basketball federation will announce which country will host the 2019 World Cup.
"More than just the celebration it's bringing everyone together, making sure that we're all aligned and rallying behind the same battlecry of 'Puso 2019' as we push forward to our FIBA World Cup bid presentation," added Patrician Hizon, project lead for the FIBA bid presentation.
Hizon added they expect around 2,000 to 3,000 fans to show up on Friday.
FIBA officials visited the Philippines in January to inspect venues and facilities where games could potentially be played.
"The ingredients are there, between Mr. [Manny V.] Pangilinan, his own network, and the people in the federation, but also the network outside the federation to bring all this somehow together and to present a very compelling story and a very good bid," said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann in January. – Rappler.com