SBP remains confident of hosting Fiba Asia Cup

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 26 2012 12:54 PM | Updated as of Sep 26 2012 08:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is trying to put a "positive spin" on its failure to secure the right to host the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships.

"It's not all lost because there's a possibility we will be named alternate host,"n said SBP executive Sonny Barrios in yesterday's PSA Forum at Shakey's Malate.

But the SBP has asked FIBA Asia to "confirm to us by way of a written note that the Philippines is the alternative host" after the right was awarded to Lebanon.

It means that if Lebanon suddenly pulls out as host, the Philippines would take its place. While the SBP welcomed the development, it wants something, in black and white, to hold on to.

The SBP gave FIBA Asia until Nov. 30 to be informed if Lebanon is pushing through with the hosting. The SBP said it needs enough time to make sure it can host the event the way it wants to.

"There is a timeline we're looking at for practical purposes," said Barrios, adding that they don't have full control over the venue, the Mall of Asia Arena, and television station TV5.

"The Mall of Asia cannot wait indefinitely. They have other bookings for 2013. And they cannot just turn away the others because of this," said the former PBA commissioner.

"Even the hotels and the practice venues have requirements that need advance information. Hindi puwede na naka-nganga tayo forever. If they tap us as alternate venue one month before the event then we can't do it," said Barrios.

In its letter addressed to FIBA Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian, dated Sept. 25, 2012, the SBP tried to be "very diplomatic, courteous and proper" even if it sounded like the SBP was giving FIBA Asia an ultimatum.

"We (SBP) decided on Nov. 30 as the timeline," said Barrios, adding that the day the FIBA Asia decision came out in the newspapers he got a text from a Mall of Asia representative.

"Wala na ba? (Is it over?) So, I had to ask them not to book anything for the meantime. They said they can wait pero hindi habang-buhay (but not forever)," Barrios told the forum.

What if Lebanon pulls out of the hosting way past Nov. 30 or just months before the event? Will SBP still agree to host the event?

"Even if we want to, the question is can we still do it? That's unless it's okay for them to hold the games at the (Ateneo) Blue Eagle gym. Magiging teka-teka ang sagot natin. It's not that easy.

"What's going to happen here is the ideal situation will no longer be followed. We will pass the ball to them (FIBA Asia)," Barrios added.

Barrios used his own laptop to share with the media the SBP's video presentation of its bid to host the FIBA Asia event, a qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Championships.

But despite the beauty of the presentation, which practically ensured the successful hosting of the event, the Philippines did not get the nod of the FIBA Asia executive committee.

The right to host the 2013 FIBA Asia went to Lebanon, the home country of the FIBA Asia secretary-general. Of course, it was a big blow to the SBP headed by Manny V. Pangilinan.

Three countries, including Iran, made a bid for 2013 FIBA Asia, but it was only the Philippines and Lebanon that sent a powerhouse team to Tokyo last week to make its power-point presentation.

"I would even dare say we had the better presentation, and we could not have sent a better team," said Barrios of the team also made up of Moying Martelino, PBA commissioner Chito Salud and Pangilinan.

"Mr. Pangilinan expressed his extreme disappointment. But you can see that he does not lose sight of the big picture and that is he wants the hosting. He knows it will give pride and joy to the Filipino.

"And that is not all lost on Mr. Pangilinan," Barrios added.