08:32 AM July 14, 2013

When the Federation Internationale de Basketball Association awarded the hosting rights to the Philippines last January, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Manuel V. Pangilinan remembered feeling a wave of elation wrap itself all over him.


Then there was a sobering thought.

“Mahirap to,” Pangilinan recounted. “There’s a lot of work that we need to put into this. FIBA is very strict with its requirements from the venue to the facilities to the media and a lot more. Fortunately we have enough time to prepare for the event. But it’s all good for the country.”


With three weeks left before the 27th staging over the prestigious basketball tournament for Asia tips off, Pangilinan reported that the SBP, along with all the agencies tasked with organizing the biggest sporting event in the Philippines, is close to 90% operational efficiency.

“Yung mga taong involved sa preparation updated us and mukha naman maayos. There will be some loose ends that will need to be tied up such as the schedule of the arrival of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann and President Yvan Mainini. We are organizing a welcome dinner as well as a courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino. We’re headed in the right direction. Most of the items needed for the preparation are in progress. I am quite confident that this will be a very good event for the country.”

Pangilinan, who is celebrating his 67th birthday Sunday, bared that the opening ceremonies will not be the lavish as Filipinos are wont to stage.

“FIBA likes its events to be simple. We’re just hosting a gala dinner for all the athletes then there are a few speeches and that’s it. We’ll have a simple program.”

The SBP President, however, admits to being somewhat anxious about Team Philippines or Gilas’ performance in the tournament.

“We have a decent chance to making it to the top three in this competition. All the waiting is nerve-wracking. We want them to succeed. You see, it’s a big event and Gilas pulling through will mean so much to the country,” Pangilinan said.

“But win or lose, our hosting FIBA Asia is a tribute to Philippine basketball, the SBP, and the country. Sana magkaroon pa ng maraming opportunity for us to host not only FIBA but other world-class sporting events in the future.”


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