SBP's Panlilio hopes for 'normal' World Cup in 2023

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2021 06:42 PM

SBP's Panlilio hopes for 'normal' World Cup in 2023 1
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 logo. 

MANILA, Philippines -- The chief of the country's basketball federation is hopeful that the Philippines' hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023 will proceed normally.

The Philippines will co-host the event with Indonesia and Japan on August 25 to September 10, 2023. The group phases will be held in Jakarta, Okinawa, and Manila, with the final phase set in the Philippine capital.

"During this pandemic, a lot of virtual meetings have happened," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio during an appearance on "Power and Play." "We've had board meetings with MVP (SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan) and the heads of the other countries."

"Our objective is to really host the best World Cup," he added.

With this in mind, Panlilio is crossing his fingers that the COVID-19 pandemic will be a thing of the past by the time the World Cup rolls around. The global health crisis has had a massive impact on all sports, none bigger than the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021. 

Like virtually all sports leaders globally, Panlilio is keenly observing the upcoming Tokyo Olympics to see how they hold a massive sporting event during such difficult circumstances. Organizers of the Games have already barred foreign visitors from attending the event.

"I really pity Tokyo, because they've spent so much money, and yet they won't have that expected crowd that they wanted for the Olympics," said Panlilio.

This is the scenario that he wants to avoid in 2023, as the SBP is determined to showcase the Philippines as a destination and give basketball-loving tourists an experience to remember.

"Hopefully by that time, vaccines are already in excess and out, everybody's safe, and travel restrictions are now lifted," said Panlilio.

"We want to have hopefully a normal World Cup, where a lot of people can fly into the country," he added.

These, said Panlilio, are their goals from a hosting perspective. 

For Gilas Pilipinas, the target is to make progress. The national team won one game in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, but went home winless in the 2019 edition in China.

"We'd like to go to the next round, sana, when we host it in 2023," said Panlilio. "Does that mean two, three wins? Then that's the goal for us, so that we go to the next stage… (The goal is) progress, every time."


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