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2023 FIBA World Cup

UAAP vs NCAA games to be played during SBP’s test run event for FIBA WC

Preparations for the country’s co-hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup are running well, with 72 days left before the so-called world championship for the sport returns here.

Joint Management Committee head John Lucas and Deputy Event Director Erika Dy announced that planning and organization for the staging of the event are almost 80 percent complete. A test event will be held later this month to simulate the World Cup atmosphere.

“On June 27 and 28, we’ll actually have our test event where we will hold games following the FIBA time, which is 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Smart Araneta and 4:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Mall of Asia. So simultaneous ang mga laro,” said Dy when she appeared at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at the main lobby of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Joining the two in the session, presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), were PSC chairman Richard Bachmann and local media committee head Virgil Villavicencio.

On June 27, a test run for the FIBA World Congress will be held, simulating the logistics of the arrival of all delegates from the hotel to the venue.

The following day, the SBP Invitational Games will be held at both the SMART Araneta Coliseum and the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Currently, the scheduled games will pit UAAP teams against NCAA squads headlined by a clash between champions Ateneo de Manila University and Colegio de San Juan De Letran.

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Also invited are University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, National University, College of Saint Benilde, San Beda University, and Mapua University.

The games will be covered live to test the broadcast side of the coverage.

At the same time, transportation going to both venues will also be simulated, with the games open to the public.

“This means all the plans have been laid out. It’s just all about execution,” added Dy, a former Ateneo player and coach.

The Philippines first hosted the World Cup in 1978 and will have Japan and Indonesia as co-hosts for the August 25 to September 10 event, with all of the playoffs set at Mall of Asia Arena.

The opener will be a doubleheader at the Philippine Arena, featuring Gilas Pilipinas against the Dominican Republic in the main game and Italy versus Angola in the curtain-raiser.

The formal opening ceremony will be held between the games.

“This will go beyond the games because we have something special for the fans. We’ll have the opening ceremony, halftime shows—so great value for the fans. Two great games, great opening ceremony, and halftime shows where you’ll see celebrities,” Lucas added.

Lucas also reiterated the earlier call of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to surpass the record of 32,000-plus attendance in a FIBA game by filling up the Philippine Arena on opening day.

The record attendance was set during the 1994 World Cup in Toronto during the finals between the US and Russia.

“We want to really fill up the Philippine Arena. We need to break the record. Let’s make history,” said Lucas.

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been invited to grace the opening ceremony.

“He’s been invited, but there’s still no confirmation,” said Dy, noting that the late former President Marcos Sr. was the one who did the opening ceremony when the country hosted the World Cup 45 years ago.

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