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Claimed: 2013 FIBA Asia Now in Manila!
Let's do our part and cheer as loud as we can!
by Gelo Gonzales | Jan 11, 2013
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To the PBA Finals series between Talk ‘N Text and Rain Or Shine, of which Game 2 takes place tonight, pasintabi na muna.

Today, Philippine basketball got a shot in the arm as our country has been chosen to host the upcoming 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. TV5 big boss, Manny V. Pangilinan broke the news himself through a text message that circulated, Thursday evening, as reported in the sports website, InterAKTV.

Originally, the plan was for Lebanon to host the tourney, which had beaten out our country last September 2012 during a bidding held in Tokyo, Japan. Aware that the home court edge could prove crucial in our bid to secure a trip to the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship in Spain, Pangilinan—together with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barios, PBA commissioner Chito Salud, and former FIBA-Asia secretary-general Moying Martelino—made the pitch to the FIBA-Asia executive board.

With no specific reasons disclosed, the rights were eventually awarded to Lebanon to host the games set from August 1 to 13 in a field of 16 regional teams. Although the basketball governing body did provide us a consolation: hosting duties would be transferred to us if Lebanon’s preparations proved inadequate.

That consolation evolved into a delicious reward for us, as tensions in war torn Syria caused FIBA officials to overturn their decision.

                                                                         O, teka, teka, homecourt advantage palang napa-nalunan natin!

In this InterakTV report, FIBA Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian through the FIBA Asia website was quoted as saying:

“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, till the fixed dates of our event. In view of these facts, FIBA Asia Executive Committee decided to change the venue of the 27th FIBA Asia Championship from Beirut-Lebanon to Manila-Philippines.”

Is it wrong to be so glad that we’ll be getting the homecourt advantage because of a bloody war? Maybe so, but we take what we can get. Bilog ang bola as they always say. The Philippines, which hosted the inaugural tourney in 1960, last had the homecourt advantage 40 years ago in 1973. We got gold then, defeating Korea, 90-78 in the finals, with a team helmed by coach Tito Eduque and headlined by Robert Jaworski, Yoyong Martirez, Bogs Adornado, Big Boy Reynoso, and Manny Paner.

                                                                                            Now it's this coach's turn to go for FIBA gold.

While the uplifting news may already be a victory for our recovering basketball program, the country and the SMART-Gilas RP team, which most recently won the 34th William Jones Cup, has a lot of work to do to come out of these qualifiers and nab one of those three golden tickets to the worlds tourney in 2014.

RP Team head coach Chot Reyes’ to-the-point tweet put it best: “Now the really difficult work begins.” We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, as we’re sure you will too.

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Let’s do this, Team Philippines! Do watch out for our previews surrounding the team and the competition, as we scout what's in front of us, and weigh our team's chances come August. In the meantime, we can take this time to remember the nation's Jones Cup victory last year, and hope we get as lucky in the upcoming tournament.

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