MANILA, Philippines — NBA great Carmelo Anthony said on Friday, February 24, that the Philippines has a big opportunity to highlight its brand of basketball as it co-hosts the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Anthony, named as the third FIBA World Cup global ambassador after Pau Gasol and Luis Scola, stressed the importance of the Philippines’ role in the sports’ continuing evolution.
“Win or lose, I think the Philippines could be proud that they are one of the hosts of the 2023 FIBA World Cup,” said Anthony during a press conference.
“I think from that standpoint, that says a lot. And if that’s also going to propel the Philippines down the line, when it comes to actually continue in the development of the game of basketball,” he added.
The Philippines has long been regarded as an Asian powerhouse since the sport’s international advent in the 1930s until the onset of major setbacks in the 1990s and 2000s.
Since returning to the World Cup in 2014, the Philippines is set to make its third straight appearance in the competition.
However, there is added pressure from Filipino fans, one of the most rabid in the world, to have a decent showing in the quadrennial showpiece, but Anthony advised the team to just enjoy the ride.
During the last Philippine hosting of the World Cup in 1978, the country went winless at 0-7.
“It’s a little different, you know when you’re actually hosting the World Cup. You’re the host country and there’s a different pressure that comes along with that,” said Anthony.
“It’s not even about pressure in this situation, it’s just about allowing the rest of the world to see how the Philippines does it, right? And what they’re going out there playing for. A sense of pride that they are going out there [for what they’re] playing for.” – Rappler.com