Filipino basketball fans are ecstatic about the news that the Philippines has been chosen to be one of the countries to host the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) this coming July.
Along with Serbia and Italy, the Philippines will be hosting the games from July 4 to 10 and thousands of fans are now trying to save money to buy tickets for the tournament, considering that this chance might not come again in the near future.
The good news was first announced by businessman Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP), president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP). SBP released the following statement shortly after the announcement was made:
SBP wishes to express its gratitude to FIBA and its Executive Committee for giving us one of the hosting rights for the Rio Olympics Qualifying.
I wish to convey to FIBA President Horacio Muratore and Secretary General Patrick Baumann SBP’s assurances that it will do its best in making the event worthy of an Olympic event.
It was also MVP who announced on Twitter that the Philippines will be hosting the FIBA Asia Championship back in 2013. In that post, he pointed out that the last time the Philippines hosted such an event was 40 years prior, back in 1973.
As for the 2016 hosting duties, it is believed that this is a “consolation prize” for the country after losing the 2019 FIBA World Cup hosting rights to China.
Still, the Philippines is qualified to be among the host countries after passing the main evaluation criteria, which, according to Rappler, include “player welfare, stakeholder experience, state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, legacy, and commercial model.”
Due to the Philippines hosting the qualifier, Lebanon earns a spot for the 2016 Summer Olympic basketball tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil even after finishing fourth place in the FIBA Asia tilt in 2015; along with Croatia and Latvia due to hosting by Italy and Serbia.
As for the Philippines, the team is still qualified to join the OQT after finishing second at the FIBA Asia Championship last year. Other countries who will participate in the OQT are Senegal, Serbia, Tunisia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Angola, and Canada.