The Philippines has been pronounced ready for the hosting of the FIBA Asia championship a little less than three months before the games begin on August 1.
Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas deputy executive director Bernie Atienza announced in last Friday’s SCOOP Sa Kamayan session that his association headed by president Manuel V. Pangilinan is 90 percent ready to stage the 16-nation tournament that serves as the qualifying for the 2014 FIBA World Cup set in Spain.
“Yes, all the most important aspects of preparations, from the games venues to hotel accommodations, etc. have been set in place to make the FIBA Asia tournament very memorable to our guests, some 400 to 500 of them, including 320 players,” assured Atienza, who is also the head of the secretariat of the Local Organizing Committee.
“Boss MVP and the SBP is, indeed, doing everything to make our hosting turns out the best ever because, as we were told, FIBA international is making this Manila meet the yardstick of all the coming regional championships on the way to the world conclave.
“This having been said, Boss MVP and the SBP are eyeing this 27th edition of the FIBA Asia (to be) a championship like no other.”
(InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon.com, the news website of TV5, which is chaired by Pangilinan.)
Proof that the entire basketball world is awaiting the Manila event, the SBP deputy executive director said, is the assurance that no less than the FIBA president Yuan Maimini of France and secretary-general Patrick Baumann will come to attend at least the opening ceremony.
Also expected to grace the regional championship are FIBA Asia president Saud Bin Al-Thani, secretary-general Hagop Khaijirian, secretary general emeritus Datu Yeoh Cho Hock, as well as FIBA secretary-general emeritus Boris Stankovic and director for sports Zorn Radovic.
Some 200 other guests, including 40 foreign media men and a 12-man statistics team from Geneva, as well as representatives from time-keeping manufacturer Tissot are also coming to observe how the games will be run and why the Philippines has been known for its organizational savvy, according to Atienza.
All the 350 or so players, coaches, and utility men from the 16-nation field will be housed at the Dusit Hotel in Makati, disclosed Atienza.
The posh Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City and the historic Manila Hotel will be homes for the VIPs, including FIBA and FIBA-Asia officials, during their stay in the country.
The referees and other games officials will be billeted at the Diamond Hotel, also in Manila.
All participating teams will be given air-conditioned shuttle buses, the same priviligea to be accorded print and broadcast media men covering the event. Members of the foreign press will have to reserve hotel rooms on their own as early as possible to avoid the rush.
Atienza said that as of the end of last week, 22 media outfits have already requested accreditation forms for the right to cover the championship.
“The main hub of the tournament, as everybody knows, is the newly-built Mall of Asia Arena, which doesn’t need any further refurbishing but is still being spruced up to ensure the comfort of those who will watch the games,” Atienza, who represented SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.
“Chair Richie Garcia of the Philippine Sports Commission, which owns the Ninoy Aquino Stadium (inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex) has also promised us to start repairing the alternate venue soon.”
Designated practice venues are at the Treston College Gym, University of Makati Gym, the Makati Coliseum, and the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.