THE FIBA World Cup 2023, the world’s biggest basketball spectacle next only to the Olympics, is here.
After six years of preparations, the Philippines is again ready to show its most beautiful face and warmest smiles to welcome some of the best players in the game for only the second time since 1978.
And, in honor of the FIBA World Cup 2023, I would like to share with you the 10 things that you should remember before the actual competitions scheduled Aug. 25-Sept. 10.
1. Known as the 19th edition of the FIBA World Cup Cup, the tournament will be hosted by three countries — the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia — for the first time. FIBA awarded the rights to host the event to the three countries on Dec. 9, 2017 after Argentina and Uruguay withdrew their joint-bid on the same day. The tournament will also be the second of three straight World Cups to be held in Asia after China’s hosting of the 2019 edition and Qatar’s upcoming hosting of the 2027 tournament,
2.The United States and Yugoslavia share the record with the most titles in World Cup history at five each.The Americans captured the title in 1954, 1986, 1994, 2010, and 2014. Led by Kyrie Irving, and Derrick Rose, the UnIted States defeated Serbia,129-92, to capture the title with a nine-game sweep of the 24-team tournamen theld in Madrid, Spain. France defeated Lithuania, 95-93, to clinch third place.
3. At stake in the FIBA World Cup is the Dr. James Naismith Trophy. Named after the inventor of basketball, the trophy was first awarded to the winner of the 1967 FIBA World Championship in Uruguay. The current version of the trophy was awarded for the first time at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
4. Although big-name NBA superstars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo are not coming to play, FIBA reported that a total of 60 NBA players, including 12 from thee United States, are seeing action during the two-week long competiion to be played in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson will play for host Philippines.
5.Being a basketball-playing nation, the Philippines is hosting the event twice already with no less than the country’s highest official in attendance. In 1978, President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. declared the tournament open at the Araneta Coliseum with 14 countries participating from Oct.1-14. Exactly 45 years later, Marcos’ son, President Marcos, Jr., is set to welcome delegates from 32 countries for the 19th edition of the tournament.
6. One of the highlights of the FIBA World Cup 2023 is the formal enshrinement of Caloy “The Big Difference” Loyzaga to the FIBA Hall of Fame. With Loyzaga, the Philippines was also considered as most successful Asian team in the history of the FIBA World Cup. The Filipinos went 6-3 and won the bronze medal at the 1954 edition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It remains the highest finish by any Asian nation in the quadrennial meet. Loyzaga was also named to the All-Tournament Team, an achievement no other Asian player has accomplished, after averaging 16.4 points per game.
7. As host, the Philippines is also hoping to establish a World Cup single-game attendance record when the competitions open at the 55-,00-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The previous record of 32,616 fans was established during the 1994 FIBA World Championship match between the United States and Russia in Toronto, Canada. The Philippine Arena set the attendance record for any indoor sporting event when 54,589 fans watched Game 7 of the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup in January between Barangay Ginebra and Bay Area Dragons.
8. Female referees will officiate games for the first time in the tournament’s history. American referees Amy Bonner, Blanca Burns and Jenna Reneau became the first female referees to be appointed to a Men’s World Cup.
9. The opening ceremony will take place on Aug. 25 at the Philippine Arena, in between the first two games of Group A pitting Angola against Italy and Dominican Republic against Philippines. It will feature performances from artist Sarah Geronimo and Filipino bands The Dawn and Ben&Ben.
10. As a show of support to the FIBA World Cup, President Marcos suspended classes in public schools and government work in Metro Manila and Bulacan for the opening ceremony.
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