The Philippines’ bid to host the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship has received a boost from the presence of the SM Mall of Asia Arena, a new state of the art basketball facility.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is bidding to host the biennial cage tournament that serves as the qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, who attended the FIBA Asia congress last month, said that the presence of the MOA Arena has made the country a more attractive destination for the event.
According to Barrios, no less than FIBA Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian has expressed his interest in the venue.
“Binida agad ni Hagop yung MOA Arena,” Barrios told InterAKTV in a telephone interview. “He has heard so many nice things about it, and he believes it will meet international standards.”
The new arena boasts a 360-degree LED scoreboard, VIP boxes, and restaurants. Barrios said that Hagop is scheduled to visit the country to conduct an inspection of the arena.
Aside from the Philippines, two other countries have expressed interest in hosting the FIBA Asia Championship: Qatar and Lebanon. Khajirian is a native of Lebanon.
Barrios said that a decision on the hosting rights will be made in Tokyo in September during the FIBA Asia Cup, formerly the Stankovic Cup.