2017 witnessed the festive moments of basketball fanatics from the region as the Philippine-led Asian consortium successfully secured the right to host the most awaited International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in 2023.
Philippines, along with Japan and Indonesia, braved the bidding held last year against Argentina and Uruguay that also offer to host the major sports event.
This was a sweet victory for the Philippines after it lost two years ago to China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Despite the fact that the games would be played in three nations, Philippines will host most of the major games, allowing the huge basketball fan base in the country to witness the event.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, who led the consortium, is targeting to bring the FIBA finals to the 55, 000-seat Philippine Arena as it seeks to break the attendance record of 35, 000 from the 1954 World Cup final between the US and Brazil at Rio de Janeiro.
Meanwhile, the FIBA started the inaugural window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers in preparation for the 2019 tournament. It said to have allowed its 16 matches to be held in 14 different venues across the region from November 23 to 27.
The Philippines appeared victorious as it won two matches, beating Japan and Chinese Taipei.
Australia also defeated Japan and Chinese during the inaugural window, a few months after its debut in the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.
Moreover, the recently held Asia Cup had recorded notable moments for the Asia basketball in 2017.
One of these was the return of Syrian basketball team to the Asia Cup after missing two editions. The Syria fought hard in both Asia Cup and Qualifiers, which resulted in two matches won over the India.
Also, Lebanon’s ‘tiger’ Fadi El Khatib bid goodbye in the Asia Cup. The 37-year-old legend continued to lead his team, registering 25.9 points per game in his last international tournament.
Still, the fact that Philippines won the World Cup hosting rights, after years of drought for FIBA hosting, tops all the highlights happened in the region’s basketball industry.