After holding exploratory talks with Indonesia and Japan, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will also try the same with Singaporean officials for a possible tie up in hosting the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios and Deputy Director for Internal Affairs Butch Antonio left for Singapore last Thursday for a dialog with their counterparts from the Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS).
“We’ll have exploratory talks with them, same thing we had with Indonesia and Japan when we talked to them early this year,” said Barrios last Wednesday when contacted by Tempo.
“Nothing is final, we’re just looking at options,” added Barrios.
The country, through the SBP under the leadership of then president and telecommunications mogul Manny V. Pangilinan, initially made a bid to host the 2019 World Cup.
However, the hosting was awarded by FIBA to China following a 14-7 vote back in 2015.
This time, led by SBP president Al Panlilio, the Philippines already expressed interest in co-hosting the event with Indonesia, and possibly Japan as the third nation as venue.
With the entry of Singapore, that means the Philippines is still open to another possible partner, although Barrios made it clear that the country will remain as the main host.
“As lead the lead federation, the country will be the venue in the playoff stage of World Cup, and that means from the quarterfinals all the way to the finals. That is the proposal,” said Barrios.
Aside from the Philippines, other countries interested in staging the World Cup include Russia and Turkey, as well as a joint hosting by Argentina and Uruguay as of early May or after the FIBA meeting.
Hosting big basketball events isn’t new to the country as it already staged the 1978 World Championships (now World Cup), as well as three FIBA Asia Championships in 1960, 1973, and 2013.
Last year, the Philippines hosted the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).