MANILA — After drawing back-to-back 53,000-strong crowds during last year’s PBA Governors’ Cup finals, the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan is set to host another historic event.
The latest prized possession of the province of Bulacan was named the venue for the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup happening on June 8-12.
A far cry from the usual setting, where a basketball court is set up at a park or inside a mall, the 55,000-seater arena will hold all the games pitting the best 3×3 basketball teams in the world.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios said during the official launch of the event at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City on Thursday, that the official NSA for basketball agreed to hold the event in Bocaue. “We evaluated it,” said Barrios.
Explaining how they came up with the decision only the day before, he said it is part of determining the venue’s readiness as the probable main venue of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“The truth is FIBA encouraged us to try the Philippine Arena even for the 2023 hosting,” Barrios said.
While admission to the event may require fans to buy tickets, Barrios said the SBP will try to make it affordable for them.
“Pinag-uusapan pa namin how to make it very easy for the fans to come in,” he said.
Barrios added that shuttle services to and from the Philippine Arena will be provided, but he also bared that he harnessed Senator Joel Villanueva to convince the fans from adjacent provinces of Bulacan to flock to the venue as well.
“Senator Joel will cater to the nearby communities,” Barrios said.
By virtue of being last year’s champions, Serbia (men’s division) and Russia (women’s division) will join the host nation Philippines among the automatic seeds to the tournament.
The other 18 competing teams per division will be based on FIBA’s 3×3 national federation ranking system, which is totally different from the 5-on-5 ranking system and is primarily based on a country’s activeness and success in joining 3×3 tournaments. PNA-northboundasia.com