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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 20, 2016

The Philippines Is One Of The 3 Official Sites For The FIBA Qualifying Tournament For Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games

IT’S AN an announcement that the Philippine sporting world was eagerly awaiting for --- the Philippines as one of the three official sites for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments that will decide the remaining slots for the Men’s Basketball event in the RIO 2016 Olympic Games. It was no other than outgoing Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Manny V. Pangilinan (also chairman of TV5) who was among the first to proclaim the FIBA decision that now puts the spotlight on the Philippines in the world basketball scene.

For the benefit of Pinoy basketball fans, the Philippine-leg of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will be held from July 5 to 10, 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena with Gilas Pilipinas joining the other qualified countries for potential Olympic honors, to be played in two other venues – Turin (Italy) and Belgrade (Serbia). Playing in Manila are France, Canada, Senegal, New Zealand and Turkey. The other qualified teams are: Serbia, Angola, Puerto Rico, Japan, Latvia, Czech Republic, Greece, Mexico, Iran, Tunisia, Croatia and Italy.

TV5’s fruitful and productive partnership with FIBA has made its exclusive coverage of the Tournament possible. The network’s Free TV airing of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship has earned praises from FIBA TV executives who also commended Sports5’s outstanding technical and programming prowess in bringing the live basketball action in vivid colors to basketball fans all over the country. Its biggest recognition though came from the basketball – loving Pinoy fans that have most ardently stayed tune with the whole tournament through their television sets at home. TV5’s heart–stopping 2013 FIBA Asia coverage lead the viewership ratings compared with its rival networks during its timeslot making TV5 the weekend primetime winner of the ratings game. With this track record matched with Sports5’s continuous commitment for world class coverage, the FIBA OQT in July will definitely be something that every household would once more enjoy.

According to Emmanuel C. Lorenzana, TV5 President and CEO, “TV5 and our multi-platform reach have been the gold-standard for sports coverage in the local television scene and we are proud of the opportunity to bring the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to Filipino homes this coming July. Our track record speaks for itself having covered the fabled journey of our very own Gilas Pilipinas to the FIBA World Cup in Spain and our exclusive live free-TV airing of all the Gilas team’s games starting with the FIBA Asia Championship and now this FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament that we are hopeful to get a seat in the hard-court in Rio.”

The MOA arena’s 20,000 seating capacity is expected to be filled with local fans rooting for our very own Gilas team that has already made history when it joined basketball’s elite teams in the FIBA World Cup in Spain in 2014. The games will also be beamed to global audiences via television through FIBA OQT and its official Philippine broadcast partner, TV5.

According to Patricia Hizon, Sports5 Head, “We are deeply honored by FIBA’s continuing recognition of the effort and dedication of our television crew, staff and talents and for the support of Filipino audiences who have watched our past coverage of world-class basketball that FIBA is known for. With our tradition of excellence and commitment to bring monumental sporting events for the whole Philippines to witness, TV5's FIBA OQT coverage will definitely be another great addition to its growing fame as the number one sports channel in Philippine television,” she added.