August 7, 2015

China to host 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

(L-R) Chinese delegation, basketball star Yao Ming, Chinese Olympic Committee vice president Gao Zhidan : Vice Mayor of Beijing and China 2019 bid committee chairman Zhang Jiandong; and Philippines’ delegation, president of Philippines Basketball Manuel V Pangilinan; Eight-time world boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao; and actor Lou Diamond Phillips during the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup host announcement ceremony in Tokyo on August 7, 2015. (Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/ AFP)

China wins the bidding war against the Philippines in the final presentations to become the official host of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the FIBA Central Board announced Friday, August 7 in Tokyo, Japan.for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup hosting.

The delegations of the People's Republic of China and of the Republic of the Philippines presented clear impressions that the love of the sport is what drives them to want to host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

China edged Philippines, which banked on the Filipinos’ passion for the sports and reach on social media in its bid for the hosting, with a presentation focusing on its strength in infrastructure, hosting experience, and resources.

The Chinese have hosted several international tournaments including the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Asian Games and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics. They will also host the upcoming 2015 Fiba Asia Championships. Last Friday, July 31, China also won the rights to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

China also boasted of holding the Fiba World Cup, which is held every four years, in eight keys cities which are easily connected by several forms of modern transportation.

Presenters for the Philippine pitch were business tycoon and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan; Filipino Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips; former national team player Jimmy Alapag; and former national team head coach Chot Reyes.

The Philippine bid highlighted the Southeast Asian nation's deep-rooted love affair with basketball as FIBA's ticket to achieving its goal. It also leverage the country's Internet reach as the Social Media Capital of the world.

Basketball's world governing body made the decision after a stringent process that began right after last year's World Cup in Spain, and culiminated Friday in Tokyo with 20-minute presentations from each country followed by question-and-answer sessions.

Here are some of the strong statements of intent that were made. An evident as the leading figures behind both bids addressed the media, just hours before FIBA's Central Board is set to make its decision.

Yao Ming, China 2019 Ambassador and basketball star (asked to compare, based on his visits to the Philippines, the love of basketball there compared to the love of basketball in China): "You can't say that one type of love is better than the other. Both are great. Both countries have a great passion for basketball, particularly for FIBA basketball."

Manny Pacquiao, Philippines Congressman and eight-time world boxing champion: "I am a boxer but I am here because I love basketball so that tells you the passion that Filipinos have for basketball. If we host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we can show that passion to the world."

Zhang Jiandong, Vice Mayor of Beijing and Chairman of the China 2019 bid committee: "At least 300 million people play basketball in China and if we host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we can increase that participation. China is the most populous country in the world and we can make basketball the most popular sport in the world. We believe that we can make the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup a complete success because of China's economic stability, strong financial guarantee and the government's complete support. We can make it a safe, most reliable and risk-free event."

Manuel V Pangilinan, President of the Philippines Basketball Association: "In our country, basketball is number one. Ninety percent of the population play, watch or follow the sport in one way or another. It's not just Filipinos in the Philippines that are passionate about the sport. It's Filipinos all over the world. Football may be number one in many places around the world, but basketball is number one in the Philippines."

Gao Zhidan, Vice-President of the Chinese Olympic Committee: "Basketball is very popular in China and if we host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we can foresee a great rise in that popularity. This will have a great impact on the professional league (CBA) as well as the university league which is developing very fast. It will help with our aim to train more athletes and get a bigger pool of talented players."

Lou Diamond Phillips, Filipino actor and director: "The Philippines has come of age and we are incredibly hopeful of geting to host the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. We are the biggest social media country and we already have more than two billion impressions of #PUSO2019."

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