Top officials of the PBA are part of the Philippine delegation to the FIBA Asia Congress in Tokyo, Japan that will push for the country’s bid to host the Asian cage championship next year.
PBA Board of Governors chairman Robert Non, vice-chairman Mon Segismundo, and treasurer Ely Capacio will join league commissioner Chito Salud along with officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas led by president Manuel V. Pangilinan, vice-chairman Ricky Vargas, and executive director Sonny Barrios. Also part of the group is former FIBA Asia secretary-general Moying Martelino.
“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.”
Under Salud, the PBA earlier committed its support to the national team by providing a pool of 16 players for the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program. It paid immediate dividends as the latest incarnation of the Philippine team won its first international tournament, the 34th William Jones Cup, in Taiwan.
The FIBA Asia Congress coincides with the FIBA Asia Cup, where SMART-Gilas will also see action beginning Friday.
Apart from the Philippines, Iran and Japan are also reportedly bidding for the rights to host the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, which serves as qualifier to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Earlier, the SBP hosted Khajirian on a tour of the country’s basketball facilities. He reportedly came away impressed with the new SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“I think we were the only ones who invited him to personally inspect the venue,” said Barrios. “Seeing Hagop impressed with the venue is good news for us, but we still have to make a formal presentation.”
The last time the country hosted the FIBA Asia Championship was nearly 40 years ago. Then known as the Asian Basketball Confederation Championship, the Philippines won the gold medal in the 1973 event when the team bannered by Robert Jaworski, Mon Fernandez, Bogs Adornado among others, defeated a South Korean squad led by Shin Dong-Pa in the finals.