The hosting rights for the 2023 edition of the FIBA World Cup was officially turned over to the Philippines and its two co-hosts on Sunday.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, along with representatives from Indonesia and Japan, received the FIBA flag from Chinese Basketball Association chairman Yao Ming in Beijing during halftime of the title game between Spain and Argentina.
"We're on our way - we're bringing home the FIBA flag 2023 with us. The journey begins tonight," Pangilinan said in a tweet. "Thank you so much to all of you for your support - you inspire us and give us the energy and spirit to keep trying. In particular, my thanks to President (Rodrigo) Duterte for his kind encouragement and presence to Gilas and our hosting."
"Our sincere gratitude also goes to the FIBA Central Board and the FIBA staff. My special thanks go to Senor Horacio Muratore, outgoing FIBA President, and most especially to the late Patrick Baumann, whose memory I recall with personal fondness this evening here in Beijing," added Pangilinan.
The Philippines will host the World Cup for the second time. It last hosted the event in 1978. Four preliminary round groups, two second round groups and the final tournament phase starting from the quarterfinals, including the grand final, will be played in the country.
The Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, and the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City are being considered as the playing venues. Okinawa and Jakarta will also hold the rest of the games.
"Now the work begins, starting with the local organizing committee, the steering committee with Japan and Indonesia, and the Gilas Team 2023," Pangilinan said. "In bringing all this effort to fruition in 2023, and in showing what we Filipinos can offer the world, I ask for your prayers and help for the SBP."
Pangilinan is expected to return to Manila Tuesday with the FIBA flag.
Information from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was used in this report.