From L-R: SBP president Al Panlilio, GIlas head coach Chot Reyes and vice chair Robbie Puno. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
There has been a lot of confusion as to whether or not all the countries in the three-nation consortium that won the hosting rights for the 2023 Fiba World Cup will get automatic slots to the tournament.
Fiba recently said yes, but hoisted a caveat on Indonesia: That slot hinges on the drastic improvement of its national team.
“Indonesia is not guaranteed yet,” SBP president Al Panlilio told INQUIRER.net. “Of course, Fiba would want a competitive World Cup so Indonesia has to show marked improvement with its national team.”
The Philippines, the lead country of the consortium, and Japan will each get one of the 32 berths in the World Cup, which has stringent qualifying tournaments for country’s hoping to earn a spot in the event.
And the SBP is willing to help Indonesia cement an appearance in the World Cup.
“We can extend as much help as we can to help their national team improve,” Panlilio said. “ We have coaches that we can spare who can come in as consultants and we can arrange friendlies with our teams here.”
The Philippines isn’t that much of a wild card for the 32-team tournament. The country is currently ranked 31st in the world. Japan, at 52nd, certainly needs the outright berth granted to hosts. But Indonesia, ranked 108th, may be too much of an accommodation if it doesn’t show marked improvement, considering how cutthroat the competition is for World Cup berths.
“Maybe we can have them train here, too,” said Panlilio.
The SBP still hasn’t met with its counterparts from Japan and Indonesia to synchronize preparations for the World Cup, but Panlilio said that will be set as soon as things are settled here.
The SBP could extend its offer to help Indonesia in that meeting.