MANILA, Philippines – In two weeks, the Philippines will have to prove itself again – as it always does – this time before the Central Board of world basketball federation FIBA as it decides the host of the next Basketball World Cup in 2019.
The bidding is down to two: China and the Philippines. (READ: Why the Philippines should host the FIBA World Cup in 2019)
Obviously, the Philippines is the underdog against China, which is adept at hosting large-scale sporting events with its experience from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and regular FIBA events.
But the Southeast Asian nation is banking on its deep-rooted love affair with basketball as its defining edge. Moreover, the Philippines is relying on where that passion can take FIBA and the sport.
What’s going to happen during the final bid?
The bid is on Friday, August 7 in Tokyo, Japan and the ceremony starts at 4 pm Japan time.
Here is a rundown of what will take place:
What is FIBA looking for?
The next Basketball World Cup has been moved from 2018 to 2019 for obvious reason – to veer away from heavyweight competition of the FIFA World Cup, which has been played in the same year as FIBA’s centerpiece from 1970 to 2014.
The move marked tangible dedication by the world governing body to take the world tournament and basketball itself to the next level.
Consultants for the Philippines' bid explained FIBA are not content with simply having a place to conduct the event. They are looking for something more.
“A World Cup hosted in the Philippines will create buzz, noise and attention that will flow out of the Philippines and into the world,” consultants discussed during a media briefing.
This coming World Cup, consultants said, will not simply be a sporting event in and of itself. FIBA wants it to be “an event that is noticed, that creates conversations, that transcends the sport.”
There is no questioning the Philippines' heart. The real challenge is how can that love generate a unique FIBA World Cup experience?
“It’s not just the passion, it’s what that passion translates to,” said consultant Sean Nicholls.
Does the Philippines have a chance of winning?
There is a 50% chance the Philippines will win because there are two bidders left. And that’s as good a chance as any.
As former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes put it: “In the end, in life, all you ask for is a chance, and we have this chance.”
The Philippine bid is a a collective effort with support from the government. It underscores the nation’s basketball story, leverages the country's openness as the Social Media Capital of the world, and highlights the appeal of experiencing rich Filipino culture.
As far as the Philippines’ physical and technical hosting capabilities, which include infrastructure and facilities, consultants noted the country already passed that part. They explained the Philippines wouldn’t have made it this far in the bidding process if FIBA deemed it incapable of mounting the event.
If what consultants explained of FIBA’s direction holds true, and if the Philippines can successfully show feasible, convincing plans that will elevate the 2019 World Cup, then yes, it would seem the country's chances are good.
The Philippines knows what it can offer, but what matters is the big idea, the game plan around it, and getting that message across to the Central Board.
FIBA knows the Philippines’ passion for hoops. There will be expectations. – Rappler.com
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