Panlilio believes 2023 World Cup bid atones for 2019 failure

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios and president Al Panlilio will be part of the Philippines’ delegation for the joint bid in the 2023 Fiba World Cup. Photo by Randolph B. Leongson/INQUIRER.net

Gearing for another crack at hosting the global basketball extravaganza, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio couldn’t help but look back at the country’s failed bid in hosting the 2019 Fiba World Cup, sharing that up to this day, he believes the Philippines was the rightful winner.

“I felt we won the 2015 bid,” he said on Monday.

Panlilio shared veryone who attended the presentations back in 2015 felt that the Philippines had won the rights, before the Fiba Central Board decided to give China the nod in a 14-7 vote.

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“When we lost the bid in Tokyo in 2015, we went back to the hotel and (SBP chairman emeritus) Manny V. Pangilinan was distraught. We thought we won. Even (Chinese Basketball Association chairman) Yao Ming approached us and said we had a very good presentation and he felt we won. But we didn’t get it,” he said.

With China winning the hosting rights, the SBP felt bidding for the 2023 edition was a little too early as Fiba isn’t keen on awarding the hosting rights to an Asian candidate for the second straight time.

“We were looking at when’s the next opportunity for us to host, and we felt that 2023 might not be the time because they awarded it to Asia in 2019. The earliest timeframe was 2027,” said Panlilio.

But Pangilinan felt that joining forces with Japan and Indonesia in making another run through a joint bid does give the Philippines a compelling argument to Fiba as the candidacy doubled down on the international basketball federation’s aim on furthering the sport’s global reach.

“MVP thought about the multi-nation hosting and (SBP executive director) Sonny  Barrios said that our proposal should be compelling,” related Panlilio.

“That’s the uniqueness of our co-hosting bid, that the power of the three nations representing half a million people which are multi-culture, multi-religion, multi-language, and multi-economic stations,” Barrios added. “So if you’re Fiba and your main objective is globalization of the sport, you should go on the three nations’ bid. The global reach is in many aspects, culturally, religiously, economically, even in sheer numbers.”

Panlilio could only hope for the best as the Philippines-Japan-Indonesia contingent prepares for its final presentation on December 9 in Geneva, Switzerland before the Fiba Central Board as it hopes to edge the joint candidacy of Argentina and Uruguay in winning the bid.

“I guess at the end of the day, we want to make sure that we do win. I feel optimistically cautious or guarded that we do have a good chance to win the bid,” he said.

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