Lebanon beats PH as Fiba Asia host

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 20 2012 08:52 AM | Updated as of Sep 20 2012 04:58 PM

TOKYO – The Philippines would have to wait for more time to have its turn to host the FIBA Asia championship again.

The FIBA Asia executive board, in a meeting Wednesday here, awarded to Lebanon the hosting rights for the 2013 edition of the biennial meet which serves as the regional qualifier for the 2014 World Championship.

FIBA Asia had yet to announce how they came to the decision at press time. The speculation was that Lebanon got it with this Middle East country being the official winning bidder of the 2011 event which it yielded and subsequently went to China.

Not once has Lebanon hosted the event that was played in Manila in 1960 and 1973.

FIBA Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian, a Lebanese, said the Philippines would be on line to get the 2013 hosting rights should Lebanon later declare it’s not ready to stage the event as it did in 2011.

It's sad news for the Philippine cage officials who thought they were able to make a good case for the country in a 20-minute audio-visual presentation before the FIBA Asia executive board.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan, executive director Sonny Barrios, former ABC secretary general Mauricio Martelino and PBA commissioner Chito Salud made the presentation for the Philippines.

Pangilinan and Salud were already with the national team making a courtesy call on Ambassador Manolo Lopez in the Philippine Embassy when they heard of FIBA Asia’s decision.

Dirty politics might have come into play with Lebanon looking so confident, sending only star player Fadi El-Khatib to present their bid.

"I think I covered everything," said El-Khatib, in casual wear, after his presentation.

The Philippines was the first to present, and Filipino officials were of the impression that they would get the nod of the board.

"They're very friendly and they're all very open. Their only question was the schedule. We said we're flexible," Pangilinan said.

The PBA commissioner assured the group that the PBA would free up its schedule the whole months of August and September.

In the end, the board chose to bring the event in the country of its secretary general.

The Philippines wouldn’t know how the voting went since no Filipino sits on the FIBA Asia executive board.

The central board leadership includes president Sheikh Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani from Qatar, chairman Xin Lancheng from China, first vice president Adel Al Assomi from Brunei, second vice president Yushi Samuro from Japan, treasurer Quek Hiang Chiang from Singapore and associate secretary general Mahmoud Mashhoun from Iran.

Board members from Southeast Asia are Agus Mauro and Erick Thohir from Indonesia, Maung Maung Myint from Myanmar, Ngoyen Quoc Quan from Vietnam and Seah Liang Bing from Singapore.