PH looms best bet to host FIBA Asia

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 19 2012 10:21 AM | Updated as of Sep 19 2012 11:59 PM

TOKYO – The Philippines has emerged as having the best chance to host the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

Talks making the rounds on the eve of the FIBA Asia executive board meeting Wednesday were favorable for the Philippines which is bidding to host the biennial regional event for the first time in four decades.

For one, Iran, another serious bidder, has conceded the Philippines would earn the rights to host the Asian meet with the Tehran Times already reporting on Tuesday that the event will be held in Manila.

China hinted at making a bid in the last minute, but it is unlikely to get the nod of the FIBA Asia board, having hosted the last two editions (in Tianjin in 2009 and in Wuhan in 2011) of the event.

Qatar has reportedly dropped its plan to join the bidding presentation set during the FIBA Asia executive board meeting at the International Convention Center of Grand Prince New Takanawa Hotel at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

At the start of the knockout stage Thursday, the Philippines plays Chinese Taipei which placed third in Group B following a 75-73 squeaker over Qatar.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is determined to make good impression that it is sending a high-powered cast of Filipino cage officials in the meeting.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios will make a presentation on behalf of the Philippine federation which intends to bring the event at the brand-new SM MOA Arena as the main venue and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium as the second venue.

SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan will also attend the meeting with PBA officials, led by commissioner Chito Salud and board chairman Robert Non, lending their presence on the sideline to show full backing on the Philippine bid.

The Philippines has never played host to this event since the 1973 meet which the country ruled with a team including Robert Jaworski, Mon Fernandez and Bogs Adornado among others. The event was still then called ABC (Asian Basketball Confederation) Championship.

The other only huge FIBA event the country hosted since then was the 1978 World Championship at the Araneta Coliseum.

In 2010, the SBP showcased the Philsports Arena in hosting the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

The latest significant move done by the SBP was inviting FIBA Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian to inspect the SM MOA Arena a few weeks back.

Khajirian told SBP officials then that, for him, SM MOA Arena "is more than acceptable as primary venue of the FIBA Asia Championship."

The FIBA Asia leadership includes president Sheikh Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani from Qatar, chairman Xin Lancheng from China, first vice president Adel Al Assomi from Bahrain, second vice president Yushi Samuro from Japan, treasurer Quek Hiang Chiang from Singapore, assistant sec-gen Mahmoud Mashhoun from Iran and women’s representative Noviantika Nasution from Indonesia.

Meanwhile, defending champion Lebanon and reigning FIBA Asia titlist China rolled past Uzbekistan and Macau, respectively, to catch up with Smart Gilas Pilipinas at 3-1 at the close of the fourth FIBA Asia Cup group plays at the Ota Gymnasium.

The Lebanese blasted the Uzbeks, 84-49, while the Chinese ripped their Macau neighbors, 84-49.

Lebanon, the Philippines and China finished on that order following the application of the quotient tiebreak system. Uzbekistan was the fourth quarters qualifier from Group A.