‘An amazing experience’: International media laud Philippines for FIBA hosting

September 11, 2023 - 6:39 PM
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Basketball - FIBA World Cup 2023 - Final - Germany v Serbia - Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, Philippines - September 10, 2023 Germany players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FIBA World Cup 2023 Final (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

International sports media commended the Philippines for its hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

The multi-national sports competition ended its nearly three-week-long run last Sunday, September 10. It was held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Philippines co-hosted the league along with Japan and Indonesia.

Josh Bett, a veteran sports commentator, was one of the international media personnel who covered the FIBA games in the Philippines.

After the competition ended, the broadcaster from the United Kingdom said that he had an “amazing experience” during his first time in Manila.

“I want to say thank you to the Philippines for hosting the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. My first time in Manila has been an amazing experience. You have been incredible hosts and I hope to see you all again one day,” Bett said.

“SALAMAT PILIPINAS,” he added.

Tim Reynolds, a sportswriter for the Associated Press, also described the FIBA World Cup in Manila as “amazing.”

“This FIBA World Cup in Manila was incredible. The volunteers, the staff, the city, the fans, it was just an amazing three weeks,” Reynolds said on the X app.

“Serbia fans especially, much respect to you. Not sure anyone was left in Serbia tonight. I think you all were here,” he added.

In a separate post, on September 8, Reynolds also shared a photo that showed the entrance of a mall with Christmas decorations.

“Not kidding. They begin celebrating the Christmas season on Sept. 1 in the Philippines. They’re playing carols, even,” he said.

The Christmas season in the Philippines traditionally starts on September 1.

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis also commended the local organizers and the national government for being a “great” host.

“Overall, the global outreach of this tournament is unprecedented. I hope the players are being taken care of,” Zagklis said in an interview on September 4.

“I’m glad that FIBA has contributed as well to what [the] Philippines brand is. I’m also glad that the Philippines has been such a great host to us,” he added.

Hans Sy Jr., president of the SM Engineering Design and Development Corp (SMEDD), earlier deemed building the arena “worth it” amid the FIBA basketball events this year.

The SM Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena in Bulacan are the official venues for the basketball matches.

READ: ‘So worth it’: Hans Sy Jr. remembers MOA Arena beginnings amid FIBA Games hosting 

Germany won the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup championship after defeating Serbia, 83-77, on Sunday, September 10.

The Philippines placed 24th in the overall ranking.