The Philippines is set to host the 27th Fiba Asia Championship, the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Championship in Spain.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was officially informed of the change of venue from Beirut in Lebanon to Manila with Fiba officials citing the security instability in Beirut as the main reason for the change.
“Unfortunately, the current situation in the region and the on-going civil war in Syria, which has its indirect effect on the countries in the whole of West Asia, especially on Lebanon, creates doubts about the stability that we might not have, at least, [until] the fixed dates of our event,” said Fiba Asia Secretary General Hagop Khajirian in an official statement e-mailed to the Inquirer. And the SBP got the assurance of PBA commissioner Chito Salud that the league—all of the team owners—would make available all the talents that the national five would need for the tournament.
The event is set Aug. 1 to 11 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, with the top three placers earning slots to the Worlds in Madrid.
This will mark the first time in 40 years that the Philippines will host a cage event of such magnitude, and it will give the Filipinos the home court edge they want against a high-caliber field that includes Korea, Iran, Jordan and regional power China. With a team coached by the late great Valentin “Tito” Eduque, the Philippines hosted—and won—the 1973 edition of the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC), the forerunner of Fiba Asia.