Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas president Manuel V. Pangilinan expressed disappointment over the choice of Lebanon over the Philippines as host of the FIBA Asia Championship next year.
“We’re extremely disappointed with the FIBA Asia executive board decision last night, where the merits and demerits of competing proposals did not seem to have been fully considered and weighed,” Pangilinan said in his message to FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann, a copy of which he furnished to InterAksyon.com/InterAKTV.
(InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon.com, the news site of TV5, which is chaired by Pangilinan.)
“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.”
Pangilinan, who led the Philippine delegation’s presentation, said that the decision as “we’re told, does not make any sense at all.” FIBA Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian, incidentally, is a Lebanese national.
“If FIBA Asia thought Lebanon were capable of hosting, then so be it. Why are we made a bridesmaid, a spare part, the fifth wheel (to mix metaphors). It certainly gives the impression that FIBA wasn’t at all sure,” Pangilinan added, referring to FIBA Asia’s statement that the Philippines would be given hosting rights if Lebanon were to show it was not ready to host the tournament.
“I believe the Philippines should reconsider its position on this nonsensical decision or, in the alternative, advise FIBA that by such and such a date – sooner rather than later – if no advise is given to us about our hosting, considering as well the months of preparations required for proper hosting, we will simply decline. In our country, we’re trying our very best to make the supreme effort to minimize the intrusion of politics into sports.”
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