Smart supports hosting of 27th FIBA Asia Championship in the Philippines

As part of its commitment to promote sports and champion Filipino athletes in international sporting events, wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has committed to support the hosting of the 27th International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Championship Cup in August this year.

FIBA Asia Championship
“Smart has always been at the forefront in supporting Philippine sports, especially basketball,” said Charles Lim, EVP and Head, Wireless Consumer Business for Smart and Sun Cellular. “As a growing testament of our commitment, Smart is proud to be one of the main sponsors of the country’s hosting of this very prestigious event where we will see our very own Gilas Pilipinas national team battle it out with Asia’s best basketball teams.”

Smart is part of the local organizing committee of this basketball tournament, which is slated to run from August 1-11 in Manila. The games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena powered by PLDT and Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

“Organizing this tournament has been taking much hard work, commitment, and passion,” said Epok Quimpo, Smart Sports manager. “But we assure our basketball-crazy kababayans and millions of Filipino supporters that we are pulling all the stops to make the country’s staging of this continental joust a success.”

The 27th FIBA Asia Championship Cup, which will be participated by 16 countries, will serve as the qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Championship. The top three teams will represent Asia in the World Championship which will be held in Spain next year. This marks the first time in 40 years that the Philippines will be hosting the biennial competition.

“The Philippines went through so much just to get the hosting rights for this tournament but thanks to the patience and dedication of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) led by its president and PLDT-Smart Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, FIBA awarded us this rare opportunity,” said Quimpo.

Pangilinan led the delegation that made a solid pitch for the hosting bid before the FIBA Asia executives in Japan last year. Even after the FIBA Asia officials initially granted Lebanon the hosting duties, Pangilinan was persistent until FIBA finally awarded the hosting rights to the Philippines.

Pangilinan also spearheaded the call for support of all the professional teams in the Philippine Basketball Association to form the most competitive team that will represent the country.

The last time the Philippines hosted the tournament was in 1973 when it was still known as the Asian Basketball Confederation Championship. The Philippine team, led by Filipino basketball legends Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez, beat South Korea to bag the title.

“Smart is one with the millions of ardent Filipino basketball fans who will be cheering for and supporting our national team on their conquest to another regional basketball crown, consequently putting the country back in the international basketball map,” said Lim.


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