FIBA exec looks forward to PH hosting of 2023 FIBA World Cup

Things are looking bright as far as the hosting of the Philippines for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

FIBA executive director David Crocker (center) Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio (right), and SBP executive director Sonny Barrios strike a pose with the prestigious Naismith Trophy at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Owners Circle Thursday, Feb. 24. (SBP livestream)

The country will be co-hosting the prestigious basketball tournament alongside neighbors Indonesia and Japan and FIBA executive director David Crocker couldn't be more excited for what is about to unfold next year.

"This is the biggest opportunity for the Philippines to show its love for basketball. It can set some record in fan appearance," said Crocker in a media round table, also attended by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio and Executive Director Sonny Barrios, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Owners Circle Thursday, Feb. 24. "So it's not the time to talk about how much you love basketball but time to actually come out and be part of it.

"It'd be nothing better than to set record after record of Filipino fans coming out of the Finals of the World Cup. And that really showing that the love is real. That's what we're hoping to see, a full Philippine Arena."

Likewise, Panlilio also hopes that the hosting will attract more spectators, not only Filipinos but also foreigners expressing their love for the game.

"I think the biggest audience to see a FIBA game is 30,000, 35,000-level, right? Imagine if we can fill the Philippine Arena. that would be a 55,000-record," added the SBP chief.

Barrios added that there's a huge possibility for it since Gilas Pilipinas won FIBA's Most Valuable Fans (MVF) Best Country award in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain, where the Andray Blatche-led national team finished 21st out of 24 countries.

Ticket sales for the World Cup will begin March and the Team Pass for the Philippines, which will cover all five matches of Gilas, ranges from P2,499 for general admission to P52,999 for the most premium seats

"We asked special permission from FIBA that we want to socialize the prices for the bleacher seats because, under the guidance of Mr. Pangilinan and Mr. Panlilio, they want the tickets for the general admission to be very affordable for our many basketball fans," added Barrios.

Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City and Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City will host the group games phase while the finals phase (quarters, semis, finals) will be held in Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

Gilas, already qualified in the World Cup, have begun their Asian Qualifiers campaign against India as of this writing.