‘It was just magic’: How Philippines sealed the FIBA World Cup hosting

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FOR a country where basketball is revered, known to be the world’s home of makeshift courts, three Filipino gentlemen who

Philippines News, Philippines Headlines

either played hoops or cheered from the courtside, find themselves in the same corporate boardroom many years on strategizing their biggest coup yet: bringing over the world’s biggest basketball event, the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, to the Philippines.

For Pangilinan, it is no secret that his love for sports was heavily influenced by his family, particularly his mother Soledad. “My mother was an avid fan of the San Beda team. She would watch games with the other mothers, who would prepare food for the team,” he recalled. “I felt we had a very good presentation. It was just us and China, and I think we really did a good job. We wore the Barong Tagalog with a heart embroidered on it, we had a very passionate, emotional presentation. In fact, even their Hall of Famer Yao Ming of China already congratulated the Philippines. Unfortunately, we lost the bid,” Panlilio recalled.

“Magic. It was just magic. We did not let go of the dream. Was there a specific formula? No. The team introduced itself to FIBA. FIBA understood our love for basketball,” Vargas said.

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