MANILA (FIBA Asia Championship) - Basketball fans in the Philippines are buzzing following the announcement that the country is to host the FIBA Asia Championship for the first time in 40 years.
Basketball's governing body in Asia decided to move the event from Lebanon because of "doubts about the stability that we might not have" due to the current situation in the region and the on-going civil war in nearby Syria.
The FIBA Asia Championship, which will serve as a qualifying event for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, is to tip off on the first of August and conclude on the 11th.
The coach of the Philippines national team, Chot Reyes, commented on the switch on Twitter.
He tweeted: “It’s official: Manila hosts 2013 FIBA Asia Championship! All d hardwork thru Xmas & New Year paid off. Now d really difficult work begins.”
It remains to be seen what the home-court advantage will mean to the Philippines national team.
The last time the country hosted the FIBA Asia Championship, in 1973, the Philippines captured the gold medal with Korea taking silver and Taiwan bronze.
The country also won the gold in 1986 when the event was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
That was the last time the Philippines reached the podium.
The national team came very close to a medal in 2011 in Wuhan, China, losing to Korea in the battle for bronze, 70-68.
Samahang Basketbol NG Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios said in a statement: “We are honored to host this prestigious event.
“We thank FIBA Asia for giving us this privilege, which will give great happiness and enjoyment to the millions of Filipino basketball fans.”