PBA backs SBP's bid to host 2013 FIBA-Asia tilt

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will lend its full support to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) when the cage body lobbies for the country’s hosting of the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship next week.

League commissioner Chito Salud confirmed he’ll form part of the delegation that travels to Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 18 to make a case before executives of FIBA-Asia about the Philippines’ capability to stage an event as big as the qualifier for the 2014 FIBA-World Championships.

Salud will be with a small but important group of Filipino basketball officials travelling to the Japanese capital for the country’s presentation of its hosting bid. The SBP will be led by president Manny V. Pangilinan, vice-chairman Ricky Vargas, executive director Sonny Barrios, and former FIBA-Asia secretary general Moying Martelino.

The PBA Board of Governors will also pitch in its support as Salud is going to be accompanied by Chairman Robert Non, Vice-chairman Ramon Segismundo, and Treasurer Ely Capacio.

Aside from the Philippines, also bidding to host the 2013 FIBA-Asia meet are Iran and late entry Japan.

“I intend to impress upon our leaders in FIBA-Asia that the PBA is one with the SBP in its quest to regain basketball supremacy here in Asia,” said Salud. “Unequivocal is our support of SBP’s quest to host the FIBA-Asia qualifying tournament here in 2013 and we want to make sure (FIBA-Asia) secretary-general Hagop Khajirian of Lebanon gets that message.

Khajirian recently visited the country for an ocular inspection of the Mall of Asia Arena, and came away impressed with the newly-built playing venue patterned after some of the arenas owned by NBA teams.

The country hosted the inaugural staging of the biennial meet in 1960 when it was still known as the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship. A five-time winner – second in the history of the event – the Philippine last hosted the cagefest in 1973.

Salud believes Filipino basketball fans are excited about the prospect of  bringing the FIBA-Asia championship here after Smart Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0 won the 34th William Jones Cup basketball tournament in Taipei recently.

He said the country’s chances of qualifying for the FIBA-World Championship in Spain two years from now would be even better if the meet is held here given the expected hot reception of the local fans and considering that the top three teams earn outright berths to the tournament many consider as the ‘Olympics of basketball.’

“We in the PBA stand side-by-side with FIBA and the SBP in making sure that Asian basketball is developed to its peak,” added Salud.

The effort of the commissioner to help the SBP in its hosting bid is the second major support Asia’s pioneering cage league has extended to the country’s governing body in basketball under Salud’s watch.
Working hand-in-hand with the entire PBA Board, Salud allowed the lending of 16 pro players – later increased to 20 – to the national training pool which later formed the core of Smart Gilas 2.0 handled by coach Chot Reyes.

Following the Nationals’ success in the Jones Cup, they embark on yet another campaign as they see action in the FIBA Asia Cup (formerly known as the Stankovic Cup) set Sept. 14 to 22 in Tokyo, Japan that coincides with the FIBA-Asia executive meeting.

Salud and the members of the Board will also support the title drive of the Nationals by watching some of their scheduled games.

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