The hosting rights of the prestigious International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in 2019 will be a neck-and-neck battle between the Philippines and China.
“Looking ahead to future editions of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, it was confirmed that the 2019 event will be played in Asia with China and the Philippines as the two candidates left in the race to host it,” according to the official website of FIBA.
The FIBA Central Board, through the Executive Committee meeting, will be announcing the official host of the World Cup in June. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Manny Pangilinan is a member of the powerful FIBA Central Board.
“The Executive Committee will reconvene on 16-17 June, before FIBA’s Central Board holds a three-day meeting (18-20 June). The main topic on the agenda will be to determine the host for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup,” added the statement.
Besides the Philippines and China, four other countries—Turkey, Qatar, Germany and France—have also signified intentions to host the world meet.
Citing the country’s world-class facilities including the state-of-the-art Philippine Arena, the Philippines has a strong chance of being selected as the three-member FIBA Evaluation Commission gave a passing rate during the ocular inspection held early this year.
Sports director Lubo Kotleba, director general for media and marketing Frank Leenders and events director Predrag Bogosavljev comprised the FIBA Evaluation Commission while FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann was also present during the visit.
The Philippine Arena, situated in Bocaue, Bulacan, has a seating capacity of 55,000 while the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City and the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City can accommodate more than 20,000 spectators.
Two more venues in Cebu and Manila are expected to be completed in a few years.
The FIBA also praised the SBP for its successful staging of the FIBA Asia Men’s Championships in 2013 when Gilas Pilipinas wound up second behind powerhouse Iran.