Senator Sonny Angara rallies behind the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and threw his full support to the country’s hosting of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Angara, who is also the SBP chairman, said the World Cup will serve as a stage for the country to showcase itself as both a hoops-loving nation and a destination for tourism.
Aside from the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia will also host the event that will be held from 25 August to 10 September.
“We are excited to once again be host to the biggest international tournament for basketball,” Angara said in a statement.
“The last time we hosted this event was in 1978 so this is something that all Filipinos are looking forward to, both as a recognition of the Philippines as one of the biggest markets for the sport and the commitment of the government to open its doors once again to the world.”
“It will be a huge opportunity for the whole country, not just in terms of basketball, but also for tourism and business.”
A year before the country opens its doors for the best basketball teams in the world, the lawmaker met with International Basketball Federation officials to discuss the growth of the country’s basketball program as well as the opportunities presented by the event for the nation.
He met with FIBA president Hamane Niang and secretary general Andreas Zagklis in preparation for the Philippines’ hosting duties.
A total of 80 national teams are vying for a spot in the 32-team FIBA World Cup through six ongoing qualifying windows.
The national men’s national basketball team — Gilas Pilipinas — had already qualified together with Japan as well as European qualifier Finland and African powerhouse Ivory Coast.
Angara said the economic benefits brought about by the World Cup hosting duties will be on a much larger scale than what it was back in 1978.
“The biggest stars who are brands in themselves and companies will be in the country in August 2023,” he said.
“The last one we hosted was in 1978, but as the FIBA guys mentioned — because of social media and the growth of basketball around the world, this will be much bigger.”
Angara said he is looking forward to seeing Gilas battling it out with the best teams in the world.
He added there are many reasons to be optimistic about Gilas’ chances in the World Cup, including the commitment by Jordan Clarkson to be part of the team and the support of the Philippine Basketball Association.
“We still have a lot to do in terms of preparations for our hosting duties, but we give our full support to this endeavor, which will benefit our tourism sector and the economy as a whole,” he said.