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Smart starts World Cup countdown

Smart Communications has officially started its year-long countdown for the country’s hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The countdown coincides with Gilas Pilipinas’ game against Lebanon in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Beirut.

National Basketball Association stalwart Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto are at the helm together with Gilas mainstays Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, Ray Parks and Carl Tamayo.

Also in the team are Philippine Basketball Association players Japeth Aguilar, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, and Calvin Oftana as well as free agent Roosevelt Adams.

he Filipinos are battling the Lebanese at press time.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said they are thrilled to see the Filipino battling the best players in the world in this prestigious tournament outside the Summer Olympics that starts on 25 August next year.

“We can’t wait to bring the FIBA World Cup to the Philippines on 25 August 2023,” said Panlilio, who is also the president of Smart.

“To watch the best players in the world — including current NBA greats — means everything for Filipino basketball fans. We at Smart are honored to make this possible.”

Panlilio added that they can’t wait to see Gilas Pilipinas come up with a strong performance against Saudi Arabia on 29 August at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“To give us a taste of what’s going to happen one year from now, we will host Gilas versus Saudi Arabia on 29 August at the MOA Arena,” he said, adding that they are pinning their hopes on Clarkson and Sotto.

“Our national team will be led by no less than Clarkson and Sotto.”

Aside from his roles at Smart and SBP, Panlilio also serves as chairperson of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 local organizing committee and the second vice president of the FIBA Asia Central Board.

Fans can watch all the world-class basketball action via the GigaPlay App exclusive for Smart subscribers available for download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Smart GigaPlay will stream the fourth action with the following schedules: Philippines-Lebanon at 2 a.m., Slovenia-Estonia at 2:30 a.m., Canada-Argentina at 10:40 a.m., Kazakhstan-China at 10 p.m., on 26 August.

GigaPlay will also feature Slovenia-Germany at 9 p.m. on 28 August as well as Serbia-Turkey at 1 a.m. om 29 August, and Philippines-Saudi Arabia at 7 p.m. on 29 August, and Japan-Kazakhstan at 5:05 p.m. on 30 August.

Replays will be shown in the following schedule: Philippines-Lebanon on 26 August at 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Philippines-Saudi Arabia on 29 August at 9 p.m.

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