‘Sixth man ang Pinoy fans’: MVPSF head Al Panlilio on potential SBP bid to host Olympic Qualifying tourney

FIBA photo

FIBA photo

The Philippines has hosted several international basketball events over the past two years, including the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) also made a push to host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup although the rights to that tournament were granted to Asian rival China.

But under the leadership of outgoing SBP president Manuel V. Pangilinan, the country is again making a serious run at hosting another big tournament – the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held next year.

Al Panlilio, president of the MVP Sports Foundation, shared the rationale behind the bid, saying that the Philippines will surely benefit from the home court advantage.

“It’s a tougher tournament. We want all the advantage we can get. Obviously, sixth man ang Pinoy fans. Yung fanbase, the support that we get, it will bring us the energy that we need to have I guess to really beat the tougher teams of the world, basically,” Panlilio told News5’s Fraulein Olavario in an interview.

In the Olympic wildcard tournament in July next year, the Philippines will face formidable foes from different zones, including Serbia, Puerto Rico, Greece and France.

Panlilio believes that Pangilinan is committed to bringing the event to the his basketball-loving countrymen in the Philippines.

“I think we’re almost there. MVP, for sure, last time, said that there’s a strong possibility that we will be bidding for the hosting of the qualifying event,” Panlilio said.

“Before I left Manila, Butch Antonio (SBP executive director for international affairs) was to let FIBA know of our intention to join the bidding, which I think will happen in November this year.”

Panlilio said, though, that he has yet to have an idea about which countries are officially in the race for the hosting of this wildcard qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Games.

“Wala pa. As far as I know, FIBA will have a meeting sometime in November and first decide on the three venues and I guess they will do a draw as they normally do and put six teams in each of those three qualifying tournaments,” added Panlilio.

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