June 27, 2016
Countdown to Manila OQT: 8 days
Organizers of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines are in the final stages of the preparations for the event which will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena starting on July 5.
In a press conference Sunday after the announcement of the Gilas Pilipinas final 12, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Manny V. Pangilinan said the main focus of the last few days of preparations is “heightened sense of security,” which includes the protection of participating teams.
SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios added the organizers have already talked to other bodies to ensure safety.
“We are basically fine-tuning and putting the finishing touches,” Barrios said, adding the SBP has already met with the AFP and PNP.
“We would like to think we have a successful hosting as far as preparation is concerned,” he said.
Al Panlilio, who chairs the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the tournament, even said incoming Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is in full support of Gilas, and that if schedule permits, he would like to watch some of the games.
As previously stated, Panlilio said the Manila OQT will have side events like the March to MOA as well as a global village outside the arena. Organizers are also planning to set up LED screens outside the venue for fans who will not be able to watch inside.
Pangilinan ended the short presser by inviting Filipinos to continue supporting Philippine basketball.
“I would like to appeal to the millions of basketball loving fans in this country to watch and continue supporting. We ask for your prayers and support,” he closed.
Gilas plays Turkey on July 1 in a tune-up match before opening FIBA OQT play against France on July 5.
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