MANILA, Philippines – As decision day for FIBA draws closer, Manny V. Pangilinan remains optimistic that the Philippines will be chosen as one of the hosts for the upcoming 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The Philippines' joint bid with Indonesia and Japan was one of two finalists for hosting duties, along with the joint bid made by Argentina and Uruguay.
"I'm guardedly optimistic," Pangilinan, the chairman emeritus of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said recently. "(I'm) cautiously optimistic."
Pangilinan joked that Argentina may have a slight advantage as FIBA's president, Horacio Muratore, is Argentinian. "But I'm sure he'll excuse himself," the businessman quickly added.
The bidders will present their candidatures to FIBA's Central Board on December 9, with the Asian trio presenting first followed by the two South American countries. The Board will vote following the presentation, and the hosts will be announced on the same day.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," said Pangilinan. "We're putting together a very good bid, so let's see."
If the Philippines – together with Japan and Indonesia – does get the hosting rights, it will be "a great Christmas gift" to the basketball-crazy nation, says Pangilinan.
"It will be a great honor," he added.
Moreover, it will be quite the legacy for Pangilinan, the longtime president of the SBP.
"If there's any legacy I'd like to leave to the sport of basketball is that the Philippines will, after so many years, will be the center of the world in the sport of basketball," he said. "The Filipino people deserve it."
"Let's show the world our brand of basketball."
The Philippines last hosted the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1978.
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