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WORLD CUP FEVER HEATS UP | Tickets for U.S., Phl games selling like hotcakes

Jude Turcuato, MVP Sports Foundation Executive (shown in photo with NBA legend Luis Scola) bares tickets for Gilas and US games in the FIBA World Cup are selling like hotcakes. (Photo from Jude Turcuato's FB)

Tickets for the marquee matches featuring the United States and the home team — Gilas Pilipinas — have started to sell like hotcakes with still a week left before the opening of the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the
Philippine Arena in Bulacan on 25 August.

MVP Sports Foundation executive director Jude Turcuato said they are anticipating a capacity crowd to show up when the Americans and the Filipinos play in the preliminaries at the Mall of Asia Arena and Smart Araneta Coliseum,

Despite missing the likes of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving, Team USA still remains a fan-favorite with rising stars like Tyrese Haliburton, Jalen Brunson, Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero, Anthony Edwards and Austin Reaves at the helm.
The Americans, who are bracketed at Pool C with Jordan, New Zealand and Greece, will be coached by Steve Kerr with Filipino-American mentor Erik Spoelstra as chief deputy.

But Gilas Pilipinas will be the main attraction.

The Filipinos will parade their naturalized player in Jordan Clarkson together with 7-foot3 rising star Kai Sotto as well as World Cup veterans June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar.

Gilas are set to open their campaign at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas looking to break the previous record of more than 32,000 set by Toronto during the FIBA World Championships in 1994.

So far, around P30,000 tickets have already been sold and Turcuato believes that they will be able to surpass the 32,000 mark — and even reach 50,000 — as the opening salvo that features Gilas and the Dominican Republic as main event draws closer.
Turcuato stressed that aside from the matches featuring the Americans and the Filipinos, tickets for the semifinals and the gold medal match are also nearly gone.
“Ticket sales have already picked up,” Turcuato said in a conversation with DAILY TRIBUNE on Friday morning.

“Tickets for Team USA and Gilas are already moving very fast while those for the semis and finals are nearly sold out. These players are the best in the world. So regardless of who will play in the semis and the finals, fans will definitely go out of their way and
watch the games.”

Turcuato said they are confident of the success of the country’s World Cup hosting.

“We’re confident but not complacent. We need the support of our countrymen,” Turcuato said, adding that some sponsors are helping them by coming up with promos that will boost ticket sales.

“It’s good that other sponsors are helping us in ticket-selling by coming up with promos. It really helps a lot.”

The World Cup fever is starting to heat up.

On Thursday, Montenegro, featuring 6-foot10 slotman Nikola Vucevic of the Chicago Bulls, had landed as well as Ivory Coast, which will play its preliminary matches in Okinawa.

Gilas Pilipinas beat Ivory Coast, 85-62, in a fiendly duel Friday nighgt before confronting Montenegro on Sunday and Mexico on Monday.

World Cup deputy event director Erika Dy said the bulk of the foreign delegates from all 15 teams will be arriving starting Saturday.

“Montenegro arrived yesterday (Thursday). None today. The rest will come in batches starting the 19th (of August),” Dy said in a message to DAILY TRIBUNE.

“Ivory Coast also arrived, but they are not here as official delegates. They will play their matches in Japan.”

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