Trying to send a statement to the rest of the planet, thousands of Filipinos gathered Friday noon at the Araneta Center for a parade in support of the Philippines’ build-up toward the presentation of the bid for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“It was great considering the lack of time and to put it together and word it out so a lot of credit goes to the team that put hardwork together to get the fans to attend and support our FIBA bid,” many-time Philippine national team member Jimmy Alapag said.
Organizers gave away free #Puso2019 shirts which was the theme of the bid while PBA stars also attended the celebration as people circled the the streets of the Araneta Center to show its overwhelming passion for hoops.
Alapag thinks FIBA will not see the type of fans that the Philippines have and the parade was a glimpse of what it can do should it win the hosting rights.
“We wanted to showcase to FIBA the success that we had in the last few years isn’t a fluke and the love and passion for the game of basketball is built from all of us,” he added.
“Not only will it be a historic event for FIBA 2019 to be here for our country but at the same time it will be historic for FIBA. They are not going to see fans (support) anywhere else in the world like we do so it is an exciting time and we will do our best.”
The battle is down to China and the Philippines, and while the former has the edge in marketing, infrastructure, and capability, Alapag believes the country’s passion may be a game-changer.
“I think our passion for the game comes from a pace deep within ourselves. I don’t know where in the world you can find that. China has a lot of things going for them but at the end of the day, I think they have seen what this country is capable of not only because of FIBA Asia but seeing the response we had in Seville,” he said.
“Hopefully we continue to showcase that until the presentation in August.”