Tuesday, November 10, 2015
SBP optimistic on Philippines' chances of hosting qualifying tourney for Rio Olympics
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is optimistic that the Philippines will be named one of the three hosts for an Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for a berth in the Rio de Janeiro Games next year.
The Philippines along with Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Serbia, and Turkey are in the running to host the three six-team OQTs, which will run for six days in July 2016, according to FIBA.
"We are quite confident," SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said Monday during the first practice of Gilas Pilipinas. "I was interviewed earlier, and I said we have a better than 50-50 chance, I believe."
Barrios said the Philippines has already proven its "organizational skills," particularly when it hosted the 16-team FIBA Asia Championship in 2013.
"Everybody was commending us for a well-organized hosting (of the FIBA Asia Championship). Nag-host din tayo ng dalawang 3-on-3 (tournaments), although on a different scale 'yun," he added.
"And then, 'yung No. 1 sa atin, 'yung tinatawag nating passion for basketball," Barrios also noted. "Wala naman silang makikitang iba na katulad dito sa atin. 'Yung 'basketball crazy country,' sa atin lang binanyag 'yun."
The SBP bid to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup earlier this year, but lost to China.
Barrios, however, believes that the Philippines will have more success this time around. "I like to think we've done a good job, and sana mapag-bigyan tayo this time," he said.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin is similarly hopeful, as playing in front of the passionate Filipino crowd "would mean a lot."
"If we can play for the fans and have the fans be our sixth man, that's huge," Baldwin said. "That's huge for us, and it's huge for the country. We should all say an extra prayer that it happens."
In 2013, bolstered by a tremendous, passionate crowd, Gilas Pilipinas finished with the silver medal in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and qualified to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Countries interested in hosting will have to submit their candidature files by November 11. FIBA will then review the bids based on the following criteria: player welfare, stakeholder experience, state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, legacy, and commercial model.