SBP readiness to host Qualifiers gets thumbs up from FIBA official
Published on February 25, 2024

FIBA technical delegate John Rearden from Australia on Saturday, Feb 24, gave the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas the highest possible grade in its hosting readiness for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Speaking to after the local organizing group completed a test game rehearsal with two teams from Pasig, television coverage, public address announcer, sound systems, LED monitors, electronic scoreboard, shot-clocks, backstop, and a medical team, Rearden sang praises at how well SBP had put things together even before he flew in.

Rearden arrived from Europe Friday night to oversee the Philippines’ preparation for hosting Chinese Taipei against Gilas Pilipinas in the first window of the Qualifiers on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City and was “amazed” at what greeted him.

“Arriving into Manila last night from a very long flight and to have a team supported by the Philippine federation welcome me was really amazing,” he said. “I’m also truly very grateful for the support to bring me to the venue.”

The Philsports Arena, whipped up to international standards by the Philippine Sports Commission, headed by Chairman Richard Bachmann, was beyond what he expected, said Rearden.

“My first thoughts from walking into this venue was amazing. The Philippine federation has done an excellent job in the preparations indeed. All congratulations to them. I’m very appreciative in my role. They have made it very easy in this occasion. So all credit to them. They have done a very good job.”

Rearden said he saw no major concern at all as far as venue details are concerned.

“We have one standard,” he said. “Obviously we want to provide the best product, not only to the local audience but also internationally on television, for us to be sure certain things are in place. And 99.9 percent of it was already completed.”

Unable to fly in for the FIBA World Cup last year, Rearden nonetheless followed “most of the games” in the pinnacle event at home and marveled at how the “Philippine host raised the bar in preparation.”

He added: “That said, all credit goes to the staff. So now, we’re here to support, help, guide, ensuring that collectively we provide the best product, with FIBA and the local federation. And we’re on the way, looking forward to tomorrow night’s game.”

Gilas Pilipinas, which faces Chinese-Taipei at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, held a closed-door practice Saturday after the test game rehearsal.

Meanwhile, dropping by to inspect the venue before team practice was Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who was welcomed by SBP executive director Erika Dy.