TOKYO - Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Manny V. Pangilinan has expressed his disappointment over the choice of Lebanon as host of the FIBA Asia Championship next year.
"My apologies in advance for what I will say - but I thought these had to be said," said Pangilinan in a statement released Thursday.
Pangilinan said the FIBA Asia executive committee did not seem to have fully considered and weighed fully the merits and demerits of competing proposals.
"For one, SBP sent a full delegation and made a comprehensive presentation. From what we saw, Lebanon had only four of its national players as advocates," the SBP chief said.
Pangilinan led a high-powered delegation that included PBA Commissioner Chito Salud and PBA chairman Robert Non.
During the presentation, Pangilinan was accompanied by Salud, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios and former FIBA Asia secretary-general Moying Martelino.
Pangilinan said the decision to choose the Philippines as alternative venue does not make sense.
"If FIBA Asia thought that Lebanon was capable of hosting, then so be it. Why are we made a bridesmaid? A spare part? The fifth wheel? It certainly gives the impression that FIBA wasn't at all sure about Lebanon's preparedness as opposed to ours - and suggests shades of partiality," said Pangilinan.
The SBP chief said the Philippines is inclined to reject FIBA Asia's offer to be the alternative site if no advise is given to us about our hosting sooner rather than later.
"Months of preparations are required for proper hosting," he said.
Pangilinan hinted that politics may have something to do with the decision. "In our country, we're trying our very best to make the supreme effort to minimize the intrusion of politics into sport."
Pangilinan took time out from his hectic schedule to personally lead the Philippine campaign, but failed to get majority of the votes.
On Thursday, FIBA Asia formally announced the choice of Lebanon as next year's host of the regional championship.
"We had excellent bids from three top teams in FIBA Asia. This is a sign that FIBA Asia has made progress in its organization and administration," said FIBA Asia President Sheikh Saud bin Ali Al-Thani.
"The very fact that we had a methodical process of documentation and an even more impressive presentation to host the biggest FIBA Asia event reflects FIBA Asia's credibility as an organization," said FIBA Asia Secretary General Hagop Khajirian.
FIBA Asia did not announce how the votes went, but sources said five votes went to Lebanon, three to the Philippines and one to Iran.
It was uncertain if Khajirian, who hails from Lebanon, inhibited himself from the balloting.
With the hosting bid already settled, the SBP can now concentrate on strengthening the national team.
Interviewed prior to the FIBA Asia vote, Pangilinan said there's a need to find a suitable replacement for naturalized center Marcus Douthit.
"Marcus is not getting younger. He's good until 2014. We have to find another player," said Pangilinan.
MVP, as he is widely known, cited Fajardo and Greg Slaughter as possible understudy for Douthit. He also expressed the need to have a big guard.