MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel Corporation (SMC) will boost the country’s hosting of the Fiba World Cup 2023 in August as a partner of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua on Tuesday has officially forged a partnership with SBP president Al Panlilio and Fiba World Cup 2023 executive director David Crocker.
SMC president and chief executive officer and SMB Chairman Ramon S. Ang said the decision to support the hosting of the Philippines of the World Cup for the first time in 45 years was not a difficult one to make, given its benefits to local fans, athletes, basketball organizations, and the whole country in general, as it recovers from the nearly three-year pandemic continues.
“We are very proud to have been given this rare opportunity to host the FIBA Basketball World Cup. I think it’s the best time to have a prestigious international competition in the Philippines,” said Ang. “After almost three years of the pandemic, we want to say that we are open for business, Filipinos are excited to welcome athletes from all over the world, and we are all eager to watch the very best teams play on our home court.”
Ang added that SMC’s support will serve as a significant boost to the country’s profile on the international stage, which will also serve as an inspiration to the young athletes.
“San Miguel’s history is closely intertwined with sports, particularly basketball. By supporting this world-class event, we also hope to give our local players an opportunity to see different teams and further elevate their games,” he said. “Also equally important, we want to encourage and inspire young players and the youth in general, to continue pursuing their passion–whether it is basketball or another sport. With enough hard work, discipline, and dedication, they too can be world-class and can carry our flag someday in international competitions.”
Gilas Pilipinas is among the 32 teams that will participate in the World Cup co-hosted by the country, Japan, and Indonesia.
The men’s national basketball is slated in Group A at Smart Araneta Coliseum, while Team USA was automatically selected in Group C to play at Mall of Asia Arena with the first two rounds of the World Cup group stage set from August 25 to September 4 in Manila, Okinawa, and Jakarta.
The draw will take place on Saturday at the Big Dome.
The Final phase is set at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan from September 5 to 10.
Ang expects tougher competition in this year’s hosting compared to the 1978 World Cup held in the country when former Yugoslavia emerged as champion.
“The immense improvement of many countries since the country’s last hosting in 1978 makes this event a showcase of basketball talent that will be very exciting to watch,” Ang said. “This is also one of the times when our country can take center stage and show the world what we are capable of doing. Definitely, hosting the FIBA World Cup is one of those golden opportunities and a privilege,” he added.
Ang lauded the SBP led by Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and FIBA leadership for the opportunity to take part in the historic event.
“I commend the SBP leadership and FIBA for working to bring the event to our shores for the first time in decades. For a basketball-loving country, it means so much for Filipinos to have the world’s centerpiece basketball event here,” he said.
SMC, which has three PBA teams the San Miguel Beermen, Magnolia Hotshots, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, has supported many athletes and sports, the most recent of whom were Olympic medal winners led by the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial.
SMC has also supported national teams in international events, backing the Philippine team that won 149 gold medals, 117 silvers, and 121 bronzes in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
During the 2005 SEA Games, SMC also supported the Philippine team that also won the overall championship with 112 golds, 85 silvers, and 93 bronzes.
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