The Philippines has until the end of the year to submit its bid to host the FIBA World Championships in 2019, which is 10 times larger than last year’s FIBA Asia Cup in Manila.
“We want to host the FIBA World Cup in 2019 and have an idea what are the requirements. We were informed that the proposal should be received by FIBA by the end of the year. The FIBA Central Board will then decide in the middle of next year (2015) so that the country that will do the hosting will have four years to prepare,” said Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas President as well as Gilas Pilipinas patron Manny Pangilinan in a chance interview.
While the Philippines’ campaign in the 2014 FIBA World Cup already ended on September 4, Pangilinan just got back in the country this week because he had to attend the pre-bid conference on the 2019 FIBA World Cup hosting in Madrid, Spain over the weekend.
The Gilas Pilipinas Mens Basketball Team made history during the 2014 World Cup in Spain by ending a 40-year losing spell with an emotional 81-79 overtime win vs. Senegal.
The 2019 FIBA World Cup will feature 32 teams, divided into four groups with eight teams each. It would also need six venues: four for the elimination round battles and two for the semifinals and finals games.
“It [hosting the FIBA World Cup]is a huge task . . . might be 10 times bigger than the FIBA Asia Cup we hosted last year. But we will prepare for it. We have to determine which venues are eligible for 2019 and mobilize support from the government, players, Congress, the PBA, among others,” Pangilinan pointed out, referring to the Philippine Basketball Association.
The prospective venues are the 20,000-seater Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City which can seat 18,000 people and the newly inaugurated Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan that can pack 55,000 people.
“We will do our best to put a very good bid,” Pangilinan added.
The host country will have an automatic slot in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Gilas Pilipinas earned its slot in the 2014 World Cup in Spain with a second place finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup in Manila. The victory that earned the Philippines its first World Cup ticket since 1978, could not be any sweeter since it came against South Korea whom the Philippines lost against in several medal games for the last decade.
“We have been in touch with certain businesses and we have learned that new stadiums will be built between now and 2019. We will be ready,” Pangilinan said.
Llanesca T. Panti