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PH makes final pitch for 2019 Fiba World hosting

06:31 PM August 06, 2015

FIBA WC photo

It’s D-Day Friday night in Tokyo, and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan and his group will try their best to put the country’s best foot forward to win the rights to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

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Pangilinan has put together a high-powered cast that will make the last pitch in the country’s bid to bring the prestigious event in the country for the second time since 1978.

Boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao, Hollywood actor/director Lou Diamond Phillips and a host of government leaders are in the contingent appearing before the FIBA Central Board and bidding rival China.

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The Philippine Basketball Association, the country’s No. 1 sports entertainment, is well represented in the blue-ribbon affair.

Outgoing PBA board chairman Patrick Gregorio and PBA president/CEO Chito Salud led PBA personalities beefing up Team Philippines along with Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario, Sen. Sonny Angara and Reps. Robbie Puno and Reynaldo Umali among others.

Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes and former Gilas skipper Jimmy Alapag deliver the opening presentations for Team Philippines then Pangilinan attends closed-door sessions with the members of the FIBA Central Board.

The FIBA board is expected to make the decision right after the closed-door sessions with the bidding protagonists.

Pangilinan has said hosting the event will mean at lot to the country.

“In the Philippines, basketball is life. It is part of our cultural fabric and the number one sport which people throughout the country follow devotedly every day,” he said.

“The opportunity to receive the honor of hosting the FIBA Basketball World Cup would provoke extraordinary national pride. And as the social media capital of the world, that’s something that would inevitably be felt and talked about worldwide,” Pangilinan added.

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Pangilinan said the hosting, if achieved, would be a total team effort between the government and the private sector.

“The country, from the fans to government to the broader business community, is fully behind our bid,” said the country’s biggest sports patron.

If ever, the Philippines would only be the fourth country awarded World Cup hosting a second time. First was Brazil in 1954 and 1963, followed by Argentina in 1950 and 1990 then Spain in 1986 and 2014.

Only 10 others have had the opportunity to hold the world meet. These were Chile (1959), Uruguay (1967), Yugoslavia (1970), Puerto Rico (1974), Colombia (1982), Canada (1994), Greece (1998), United States (2002), Japan (2010) and Turkey (2010).

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