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FIBA Basketball World Cup

by Francis N. Tolentino

Basketball aficionados all over the world now look forward to the staging of the 19th FIBA Basketball World Cup set to happen in 2023. Thirty-two teams from basketball federations of various FIBA member countries will be competing for the coveted world basketball title. The Philippines’ best performance in the FIBA Basketball World Cup happened way back in 1954 when the Philippine men’s basketball team then won the bronze medal with a 6 wins-3 losses standing. Filipino cager Carlos Loyzaga also placed third best in scoring and was a member of the all-tournament team that year.

The Philippines-Indonesia-Japan consortium placed a bid to host the FIBA basketball games for 2023. The game venues considered for the 19th FIBA Basketball World Cup included: (1) the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, which can accommodate 55,000 people; (2) the Smart Araneta Colisuem in Quezon City with a seating capacity of 25,000; (3) the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City which can hold as many as 15,000 people; and (4) the Philsports Arena in Pasig City which can take in10,000 spectators. Also considered as venues for the FIBA basketball games were the Okinawa Arena in Okinawa, Japan, with 10,000 seating capacity and the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia, which can hold 15,000 sports fans. It will be the first in FIBA history that the hosting of the games will be sponsored by multiple countries.

In the bid presentation delivered by the combined strength of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Indonesian Basketball Association, and Japan Basketball Association before the FIBA Commission, their plea for the hosting of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup was premised on the overwhelming support of approximately 500 million basketball fans in the three Asian countries and the immense contribution that these three nations can bring in the strengthening and further development of basketball not only in Asia but as well as in other parts of the world. All three basketball federations who made the bid presentation agreed to use the catchphrase “Play Louder Than Ever”which reflects the consortium’s desire to strengthen, advance, and widen the horizons for world basketball.

As the world anticipates an exciting FIBA Basketball World Cup six years from now, the preparations for the event signal a green light. Indeed, to host a prestigious tournament such as this entails tedious planning, organizing and massive funding. The success of the hosting shall be greatly determined by the host countries’ unity, cooperation and their pursuit of a shared vision, that is, to make basketball the world’s leading sports event.