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SBP lines up friendly games

PSC chairman Richard ‘Dickie’ Bachmann has requested to Malacañang to declare a holiday during the opening of the FIBA Basketball World Cup on 25 August. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSC

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is set to host a series of exhibition matches in preparation for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Local organizing committee deputy event director Erika Dy said the local federation will host friendly games as early as 17 August involving teams who will be arriving early for the prestigious 32-nation spectacle set from 25 August to 10 September.

Gilas Pilipinas will get the ball rolling by facing Mexico in a friendly match on 21 August.

Dy stressed that they will extend the security of the delegates so that everything will run smoothly but refused to divulge the identities of other competing teams, saying that Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes is still coordinating with various federations.

“You can expect a lot of friendlies to be played across Metro Manila during that time from the 17th to the 25th of August. I believe coach Chot has been in touch with other federations,” Dy said during the press briefing graced by Philippine Sports Commission chairperson Richard “Dickie” Bachmann and FIBA World Cup Joint Management Committee chief John Lucas on Wednesday.

“Officially, we’re not obligated to take care of the teams until two days before the tournament but because of the Filipino hospitality we will extend our services and assistance to them.”

Reyes said facing the Mexicans will give them a good feel of the Latin American brand of basketball.

“We already have a confirmed friendly against Mexico here in the Philippines,” Reyes said in an interview with SEAG Network.

“That should take the place of the Latin American style of play that we’re looking for in preparation for the Dominican Republic.”

The Philippines is set to host countries who landed on Groups A, B, C and D, which means that players from powerhouse countries like the United States, Lithuania and Serbia will be arriving as well as those from the Dominican Republic, Italy, South Sudan, China, Puerto Rico, Jordan, Greece, New Zealand, Egypt, Mexico and Montenegro.


The tourney will open at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan but pool plays will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena while the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Philsports Arena will serve as practice venues.

Lucas said games will still be exciting despite the absence of some of the world’s brightest stars like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.

“Again, if you look at the past USA teams in the World Cup, Steph Curry in 2014 isn’t a star yet,” Lucas said, adding that they are looking to break the record of 32,616 spectators during the 1994 World Cup in Toronto.

“They’re sending exciting players and as coach Steve Kerr said, this is the team they built. Filipinos, especially the young ones, are all excited. Maybe the superstars are not there but they have exciting players. The level of games will be high in the World Cup, something the Filipinos are also looking for.”

“We want to break that record of 32,616 fans in Toronto. I hope the fans support this because it’s going to be big for the country.”

Bachmann said the PSC will conduct a meeting with the staff and athletes from various sports with regard to the availability of the facilities.

He also requested to declare the opening day as a holiday to ease the traffic and invited President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to perform the ceremonial jump ball.

“Once I get the schedules of the practice sessions of the international teams, then I will have to sit down with athletes and the security,” he said.

“Next week, I will have a meeting with the PSC staff and I will talk to the security and athletes so that no one is roaming around because some international teams might be strict with the practice so we’ll prepare for that also.”

“We already requested Malacañang to have 25 August as a holiday so there will be less traffic so I hope they would approve that.”

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