Fiba World Cup another feather on our cap
By Al S. Mendoza
THERE’S not an iota of doubt that the Fiba World Cup is a global prestige almost of equal footing with the NBA.
Fiba, of course, is the French acronym of the World Basketball Federation.
Who doesn’t know the NBA as the National Basketball Association of America?
Both are world champions when it comes to generating spectator frenzy.
That is accentuated when both tournaments are into the homestretch of their respective schedules.
For the NBA, the fan fever starts with the Conference playoffs going into the East and West Finals.
It reaches its crescendo once the best-of-seven NBA Finals is on.
In the Fiba World Cup, crowds come in droves to the arena and fans at home glue themselves to TV.
That’s because virtually all the matches in the FIBA World Cup are grist for great copy among sportswriters worldwide.
The tournament is also a source of thrill and excitement to all nations entered in the Fiba Worlds, simply because love of country among the so-called faithful is to be tested to the hilt.
While the NBA Finals features the greatest professionals of the sport, it is in the Fiba World Cup where present and future stars of the game showcase their talents.
We will again savor first-rate basketball even as our hosting the Fiba World Cup in 2023 will go down in history as a monumental conquest for us in the sporting world.
We are still Third World, yes.
But when it comes to basketball, we do our utmost and our efforts are more than a First World country effort in the end.
We beat bidders of the Fiba World Cup from countries much richer than us.
That’s because aside from our legendary world-class hospitality, we are known globally as basketball lovers, whose fanaticism to the game has no equal.
Before we won the hosting rights of the greatest basketball show on Earth, we’ve had several successes on hosting similar world events—such as the 1996 World Team Golf Championship, 2000 FIBV World Vollleyball Championship and, only last year, the Miss Universe pageant.
We may not be rich, but our wealth of experience in hosting international affairs is something we can always crow about.
And, if only for the record, the coming here of the Fiba Worlds in 2013 will mark the country’s second hosting of it—the first one being in 1978.
We may not win the crown—we know honestly that emerging champion would be next to impossible—but in terms of hosting and treating our guests when the Fiba Worlds is finally here, we would almost automatically become the envy of all.
Our economy is progressing rapidly, registering a consistent 6.8 percent growth since the present dispensation took over in July 2016.
Who knows, six years from now, when the Fiba World Cup is on our shores, we could, by 2023, be at par at least to our more progressive neighbors.
As always, success is on the palm of our own hands.