PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnessed the opening game of the FIBA Basketball World Cup (FBWC) 2023 between the Philippines and the Dominican Republic at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Friday.
The event commenced with a series of performances by Filipino musicians, including Ben&Ben, The Dawn, and Sarah Geronimo followed by the opening game between the Philippines and the Dominican Republic.
The Philippines is represented by the Gilas Pilipinas national team, featuring the NBA’s Utah Jazz player of Filipino-American descent, Jordan Clarkson.
The country is the lead host for the FBWC 2023 with Japan and Indonesia as its co-hosts. The World Cup will be from August 25 to September 10.
President Marcos briefly met with the players of the Philippines and took a photo with them during half-time at the end of the second quarter.
The Philippines aims to beat the world record of 32,616 spectators during the opening of the FBWC 1994 in Canada, with the Philippine Arena’s maximum seating capacity of 55,000.
Four groups, or 16 teams, will play their games in the Philippines at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City and at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City while Japan and Indonesia will each host two groups.
The top eight teams will converge in the Philippines for the quarterfinal, semifinal, and championship games.
Among the government officials present during the opening of the game were Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. and Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Dominic Guevara.
FIBA President Hamane Niang was also present during the opening.