Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio hopes that the situation will be much better by 2023 when the Philippines co-hosts the prestigious FIBA World Cup along with neighbors Japan and Indonesia.
“Hopefully by that time, vaccines are already out and in excess and everybody’s safe, travel restrictions are lifted,” the amiable executive told Radyo5’s Power and Play.
Preparations for the meet have taken a snag when the coronavirus pandemic put the world in a topsy-turvy last year, and the country is among those badly hit by such as evidenced by the resurgence of cases the past weeks.
But even amidst rough times, Panlilio said that the SBP remains very much committed to meeting its goal of hosting ‘the best World Cup.’
“In fact, during this pandemic, a lot of virtual meetings have happened,” he shared. “We’ve been working very closely with David Crocker (2023 World Cup executive director) who’s based in Singapore.
“We’ve had board meetings at the level of MVP (SBP chairman emeritus manny V. Pangilinan) and the heads of the other countries for the past year also. Our objective is to really host the best World Cup.”
What also inspires the SBP to stage the global showpiece the best it could be the successful hosting of China in 2019.
“China had a very successful hosting. A lot of it was because of the technology and all the venues. We wanted to push the technology through our own initiative, but we want it to be the best fan-based experience that we can.”
But aside from the hosting per se, the federation is of course looking to come up with the best Gilas Pilipinas crew possible to atone for their winless campaign in 2019, which saw them get blown out by powerhouses Italy and Serbia.
“Our objective is to always do better. We had one win in Seville, we didn’t do too well in China. We want to go to the next round sana when we host in 2023,” Panlilio said. “That’s the goal for us, to make it to the next stage.
“There’s development, there’s progress in our program. We’re ranked 31st today … hopefully we can break 20 sa future.”