Sports

SBP wants best-ever World Cup hosting with record attendance


FILE – A PBA game day at Philippine Arena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

The Philippines will not only cohost the 2023 Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup, but wants to do it better than any country has done before.

For starters, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) hopes to etch a record in crowd attendance after tapping the cavernous 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bulacan as venue for the knockout stages of the competition.

But for that to happen, the SBP hopes that the health situation in the country takes a turn for the better for the people of this cage-crazed nation to be able to come in droves.

“Based on research, I think the biggest crowd in a Fiba game was 35,000 to 36,000. If we could fill the arena in the finals or any games from the quarters and semis, that would be a Fiba record,’’ said Al Panlilio, the SBP president who is dead-set on sparing no expense to make it happen.

“Filipino basketball fans are eager to watch the world championship,” Panlilio added. “It’s a different level of basketball and Filipinos know that the quality of the games are high.’’

Panlilio said the SBP will organize an event marking the 500-day countdown of the hosting by April next year. He refused to divulge the cost of hosting the World Cup, however.

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