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Foreign dignitaries reinforce Philippines’ World Cup bidding, impress FIBA officials in Geneva

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How are the Philippines’ chances as far as FIBA World Cup bidding is concerned?
From the looks of it, the country has made quite an impressive pitch during the meeting in Geneva, as no less than foreign dignitaries attended and showed support to the Philippines.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios told sportswriters about the development where the Philippines amazed FIBA officials regarding its seriousness of getting the hosting rights for the biggest basketball tournament in the world five years from now. No less than the Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland – Leslie Baja – and our undersecretary of tourism joined the SBP officials during the pitch.
“We made quite an impression in Geneva, we were the biggest delegation with no less than the undersecretary of tourism as part of our group. An Australian CEO of an events sports management company also joined as part of our group. We engaged their services to help us in our bid process. Then, to cap it, our own Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland, not a consul in Geneva, drove from Berne, which is about two hours away from the office of FIBA, just to be with us and state his serious support to the Philippine government,” said Barrios.“That’s why the president of FIBA even out of protocol and courtesy, sat down with us during lunch because the Ambassador was with us. So yun ang nangyari.”
FIBA officials were impressed at how the country handled the hosting of the FIBA Asia Championship in August 2013, particularly at how the games turned out.
“I think they were really impressed with our hosting of the FIBA Asia. Impressed more so by the passion shown by our fans. We should really give credit to our so called “basketball crazy public.” “Kung sa Tagalog nga, puwede nilang sabihing nauulol tayo sa basketball, pero hindi nila akalaing ganung kaulol tayo,” added Barrios.
Known as one of the few basketball crazy nations, the Philippines caught the fancy of FIBA officials not just for the staging of the FIBA Asia Championship, but with how the pioneering professional league in the region, the PBA has become larger since its establishment in 1975.
“Sa FIBA Asia, puno lahat ng games, nagwi-wave pa yung mga tao. Never seen yun sa international, and then when the PBA’s new season opened, 52,000 yung tao sa Philippine Arena hindi sila makapaniwala doon. Kasi ang alam lang nilang ganung karami soccer at American football. Basketball, hindi sila makapaniwala na kaya nating punuin ng ganun,” added Barrios.
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