SOURCE: ABS-CBN News
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The Philippines will be one of the three countries that will host for the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in July.
The Philippines is the lone Asian country that joined the bidding, along with Czech Republic, Serbia, Turkey, Germany and Italy.
The other two countries which were granted hosting rights are Italy and Serbia.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan earlier said the Philippines has a reasonable chance of hosting one of the Olympic qualifiers.
“My guess is that FIBA would like to see Asia as one of the three zones mainly because Asia is a huge potential for basketball,” he told sportswriter Quinito Henson for his column on the Philippine Star.
The SBP is planning to hold the games at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios believes the Philippines has already proven itself capable of hosting international sporting events, citing the FIBA Asia Championships in 2013.
“If given the chance, we want to give the five foreign countries coming to play in the Olympic qualifiers a wonderful experience. We’ll be ready to roll out the red carpet and show the world what Filipino hospitality is all about,” Barrios had said.
A total of 15 teams already have a place in the wildcard tournament after finishing second in the different regional championships. Another three, depending on which country wins the hosting rights, will complete the 18-team field.
The 18 squads be divided into three brackets. Each bracket will have its own tournament from July 4 to July 10. Only the champion of each group will qualify to the Rio Olympics later this year.
Gilas Pilipinas is among the 18 teams competing in the qualifiers after it finished second to China at the recent FIBA Asia Championship.