The Philippines’ Local Organizing Committee for the co-hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in August next year conducted on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22 a “Detailed Planning Workshop” in the Quest Plus Conference Center at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga as preparations for the quadrennial event 10 months away moved into overdrive.
Through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, headed by chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and president Al S. Panlilio, the country will spearhead unprecedented hosting honors with Japan and Indonesia for the 19th edition of the FBWC which will bring together from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 world qualifiers numbering 32 from FIBA continental zones of Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, led by defending champion Spain, while serving as qualifying tournament to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Attending the two-day session was David Crocker, executive director for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, with heads of the numerous committees involved in the hosting—from those in charge of the draw ceremony in April, venues, transportation, accreditation and games services to information technology and telecommunication, protocol and international relations, human resources, volunteer program, safety and security, finance, and medical and doping control— presenting updated reports on Day One.
Also present were SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, the LOC event director, and deputy event director Erika Dy, while moderating the workshop was LOC master planner Ramon “Tats” Suzara.
Day Two wrapped up the LOC’s third planning workshop after the initial two at the Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa, Batangas in March this year and the PLDT office in Makati last June. It covered updated reports from the Joint Management Committee and the chiefs of departments handling ways and means, broadcast and media, the World Congress, games services and sport/ competition.
Two more planning sessions are scheduled, according to Suzara, in March next year and in July after the Draw Ceremony for the groupings on April 22.
“I think now that the different departments realize that very detailed planning is important for this event, like transportation schedule, catering plan, ID plan and the venue drawings, spaces, among others, everything is falling into place,” said Suzara.
A final planning meeting will be held, Suzara said, once the teams coming in are known after the Draw.
Crocker, former CEO of Basketball New Zealand and senior manager in sports development at the Australian Sports Commission, was impressed at how Day One of the planning session, specifically, went about.
“I like the front of the session because it’s all about team-building,” said Crocker, who also contributed his inputs in Day 2, especially on the broadcasting and media tribune to be set up and in the function of volunteer services.
“With 308 days yesterday to go, it’s really time for all these functional areas to start coming together, not only as individual areas of expertise but to be working across the functional areas in some level of cooperation and harmony.
“To see the efforts in trying to break down the barriers and make sure that all the teams know each other and find ways to work together is really an important step in the way the teams work.”
Crocker said it was “quite comforting” to know that “steps had been taken for some advanced level of thinking in the preparation at this stage.”
Barrios, for his part, underscored the advantage of having such detailed workshops.
“Malaking bagay din ‘to kasi nasa-summarize sa karamihan yung nagagawa ng bawat grupo para aware ka, kung functional area A head ka, aware ka kung ano nangyayari kay B and vice versa,” he said.
Barrios also raised some areas of concern, including in the aspect of information technology (IT).
“I cannot over-emphasize this. Meron kasi tayong mga must-have (like strong internet signal in the venues), and meron din tayong mga nice-to-have (like wifi in the team bus). Ang importante, focused tayo sa must-have dahil baka meron nga tayong mga nice-to-have pero sa must-have naman tayo sumasablay.”