MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, Indonesia and Japan formally received the FIBA flag from China on Sunday night, at the half of the gold medal game of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Beijing.
Yao Ming, the chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association, turned the flag over to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, who attended the ceremony along with representatives from Indonesia and Japan.
The three countries will co-host the 2023 edition of the World Cup.
"We're on our way, and we're bringing home the FIBA flag 2023 with us," Pangilinan said in a statement. "The journey begins tonight."
Pangilinan said hosting the World Cup is "a huge honor and privilege for SBP, and a great pride for our people."
"Thank you so much to all of you for your support - you inspire us, and give us the energy and spirit to keep trying," he added. "In particular, my thanks to President Duterte for his kind encouragement and presence to Gilas and our hosting."
SBP had initially tried to win the hosting rights for the 2019 World Cup, but China won the bid instead. Undeterred, the federation tried again for 2023, this time with help from Indonesia and Japan.
"Now, the work begins – starting with the Local Organizing Committee, the Steering Committee with Japan and Indonesia, and the Gilas Team 2023," said Pangilinan.
"In bringing all this effort to fruition in 2023, and in showing what we Filipinos can offer the world, I ask for your prayers and help for the SBP."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.