MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), led by Commissioner Chito Salud, is fully supporting the bid of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to host the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships.
Salud confirmed with PBA.ph that he will be part of a delegation that will travel to Tokyo, Japan on September 18 to lobby for the FIBA-Asia Championship hosting rights.
“I intend to impress upon our leaders in FIBA-Asia that the PBA is one with the SBP in its quest to regain basketball supremacy here in Asia,” Salud said.
“Unequivocal is our support of SBP’s quest to host the FIBA-Asia qualifying tournament here in 2013 and we want to make sure that (FIBA Asia) secretary-general Hagop Khajirian of Lebanon gets that message,” he added.
SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, executive director Sonny Barriors, and former FIBA-Asia secretary-general Moying Martelino will lead the delegation. Some members of the PBA Board of Governors will also make the trip as a show of support for Salud.
The delegation will present its case to FIBA-Asia executives that the Philippines is capable of hosting a major basketball tournament.
The Philippines is up against Iran and Japan in its quest to host the tournament.
Salud believes the Philippines’ chances of making it to the FIBA-World Championship will increase if the tournament will be held in the country, wherein the top three teams will be given outright berths to the world championships.
He also said that Filipino fans are excited about the idea of the country hosting the tournament, especially after the men’s national basketball team recent success in the William Jones Cup in Taipei.
The PBA has allowed 20 pro players to join the national training pool which formed the core of Smart Gilas Pilipinas, handled by former Talk 'N Text coach Chot Reyes.
“We in the PBA stand side-by-side with FIBA and the SBP in making sure that Asian basketball is developed to its peak,” Salud said.
While in Tokyo, Salud and the members of the PBA Board are set to watch the national team compete in the FIBA Asia Cup, which gets underway on September 14.