Some of the best national teams in the world are descending in Manila as the basketball-crazy nation of the Philippines hosts the Fiba World Cup again after 45 years.
The World Cup opens on August 25 in three cities in Asia–Manila, Jakarta and Okinawa–starting with the group phase featuring 16 teams playing in several venues in Manila and nearby Bulacan.
Inquirer has listed down all the basics if you plan on following the World Cup action in Manila.
Teams in Manila
In Group A, host team Philippines–known as Gilas Pilipinas–tests its mettle against Dominican Republic, Angola and Italy. South Sudan, Serbia, China and Puerto Rico mix it up in Group B.
All except the opening day games of Groups A and B are played at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bulacan, meanwhile, hosts the opening doubleheader as the Philippines bid to set a new record attendance in a Fiba World Cup game.
Expected crowd-favorite United States, which is also the team to beat in the competition with its NBA-laden roster, headlines Group C along with Jordan, Greece and New Zealand. Group D features Egypt, Montenegro and Lithuania.
The games of Groups C and D are played at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Other brackets in the World Cup are Group E (Germany, Finland, Australia and Japan) and F (Slovenia, Cape Verde, Georgia and Venezuela) playing in Okinawa, Japan; and Group G (Iran, Spain, Cote D’Ivoire and Brazil) and Group H ( Canada, Latvia, Lebanon and France) playing in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Fiba World Cup tickets: how, where, prices
After the release of fan bundles, single-game tickets have been made available for all the games in the Fiba World Cup, with different pricing per venue and team.
But the opening day games at Philippine Arena featuring Italy versus Angola at 4pm and Gilas Pilipinas vs Karl-Anthony Towns’ Dominican Republic at 8pm are sold as a bundle with the prices ranging from the cheapest a P999 for general admission seats to P25,699 for reserved seatings at sections 107 and 109.
Tickets for games held at Philippine Arena and Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City are available at ticketnet.com.ph while games at Mall of Asia Arena can be purchased from smtickets.com. Fiba also has a curated dedicated website for the tickets for the host cities at fiba.flywheelsites.com.
Tickets are also available at Ticknetnet and SM Tickets’ respective ticket booths and on-site at the venues.
Fans can watch games per team with single-game tickets in the group stages, with prices as follows:
The Fiba local organizing committee is giving discounts to students and teachers watching the World Cup, in partnership with Commission on Higher Education (CHed). Department of Tourism also launched tour packages for local and international fans seeing the action.
Philippine Arena Shuttle buses
In an effort to set an attendance record for a Fiba World Cup game, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the local organizing committee are deploying point-to-point buses, free of charge, for fans who will attend at the 55,000-seater Bulacan venue.
SBP has set pick-up points where fans can avail of the free shuttle service to the games, namely: PITX Bus Terminal, Mall of Asia Arena, One Ayala Bus Terminal, BGC Market Market Bus Terminal, SM Megamall, Araneta City, Trinoma, SM North, Clover Leaf Ayala Mall Bus Terminal, SM Baliuag, SM Pampanga, and SM Clark.
The free rides are scheduled to depart from each boarding terminal at 11 a.m. and 12 noon, and hourly from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They may go to this website https://bit.ly/3rNFIR4 to choose their preferred pick-up location and time of departure.
Fans need to present their tickets to be allowed boarding.
Among the biggest concerns in the Philippines’ hosting of the Fiba World Cup is the persistent heavy traffic in Metro Manila.
The Fiba Local Organizing Committee said in June that it has coordinated with the Philippine Arena management and local government unit to ensure traffic concerns are fixed for the opening games, which are expected to draw a mammoth crowd. This after recent concerts held at the cavernous venue brought to light the nightmare logistical and transportation concerns.
Government agencies have also outlined plans to try to ease traffic but at the same time ensure smooth travel for the Fiba delegation and visiting teams.
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has previously barred roadworks and mall-wide sales in areas in the vicinity or on the way the game venues and the hotels of the team delegations from August 17 to September 10.
The zero-mall sale areas and construction-free thoroughfares:
- Edsa Monumento to SM MOA (Mall of Asia)
- Kalayaan Avenue, C5 Road to Edsa
- Along Diokno Boulevard
- P. Ocampo St., Taft Avenue to Roxas Boulevard
- Roxas Boulevard, NIA Road to UN Avenue
- Along Meralco Avenue
- Ortigas Avenue, Edsa to C5 Road
- Edsa North Avenue to Agham Road
It will also implement “intermittent stops” on some roads to give way to the Fiba delegates and World Cup teams, which may cause heavy traffic in some areas.
The system of express lanes will be in effect in the following areas:
- Kalayaan Avenue
- Diokno Boulevard
- Roxas Boulevard
- Andrews Avenue
- Sales Road
MMDA will be deploying more than 1,300 personnel in the expected affected areas to manage the traffic.
The Fiba World Cup in Manila will run from August 25 to August 10 with the two rounds in the Group Phase, then the Final Round.
All teams will see action in the first round from August 25 to August 30, with one doubleheader each at Smart Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena scheduled a day.
Gilas Pilipinas will play three games in the first round against Dominican Republic, Angola and Italy, all scheduled at 8:00 pm local time.
The second round action will immediately commence on August 31 with the top two teams per group battling for a spot in the quarterfinals and the rest of the field battling for placing in the classification round.
The competition takes a break on September 4, as qualified teams from the Okinawa and Jakarta games head to Manila for the Final Phase of the World Cup games at Mall of Asia Arena.
The quarterfinals are scheduled for September 5 and 6; the semifinals on September 8; and the one-game final match on September 10.
Who are the star players in Manila?
There are a lot of missing stars in this year’s World Cup with some of the biggest names that were expected to come to Manila announcing their non-participation weeks before the scheduled opening.
Among those who will not be able to meet the basketball-crazed Filipino fans are NBA standouts Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, Nikola Jokic of Serbia, rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama of France, and Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia.
However, there remaining players who are expected to light up the competition in Manila, including Jordan Clarkson of the host Gilas Pilipinas.
Clarkson, a Filipino-American NBA player representing the Philippines as a naturalized reinforcment, will be one of the most-followed players in this year’s games. He will have the full weight of the Filipino fans’ support on the home floor.
The entire USA team–including its star-studded coaching staff–is also expected to get loud cheers from Filipinos with its roster full of NBA players led by Anthony Edwards, and Austin Reaves from the fan-favorite Los Angeles Lakers.
Aside from the NBA stars, Team USA also brings over Filipino-American coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat.
Other NBA players like Karl-Anthony Towns of Dominican Republic, Bogdan Bogdanovic from Serbia, Clarkson’s Utah Jazz teammate Simone Fontecchio and China’s Kyle Anderson also lend firepower to the World Cup games in Manila.
Across all host cities, the 32 teams–eight groups of four teams–will play a single round-robin competition against the teams in their respective brackets for a total of 48 games in the first round of the group phase.
Only the top two teams per group will advance to the second round, making each game crucial in trying to make a deep run in the global meet.
The other two teams in the group will be relegated to the classification phase to determine the finishers for 32 to 17 places.
In the second round in Manila, the top two from Groups A and B will merge into Group I, and teams from C and D will form Group J. They will continue to play their games in the same venues.
This time, the teams will play two games against the teams from the opposite group that they didn’t face in the first round. The results of the teams’ first three games will be carried over to the record.
The top two teams in the four merged groups will move on to the knockout quarterfinals while the rest who did not qualify will play for the 9-16 places.
Filipino fans will have a chance to see the other stars in the Fiba World Cup like Slovenia’s Luka Doncic, France’s Rudy Gobert Germany’s Dennis Schröder and Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as Mall of Asia hosts all the games in the Final Phase from the playoffs to the final.
The top team from Group I and the second best from J, as well as the No. 1 team in Group K and No. 2 in Group L face off in the one-off quarterfinal with the winners facing off in the semifinals.
In the other bracket, the No. 1 in Group J and No. 2 in Group I clash, opposite the top team in Group L and the second team in Group K, for a slot in the semifinals.
All fixtures in the Final Phase are knockout games, including the Final on September 10. The two losing semifinals are set for a Final for Third place.
Fiba World Cup ambassadors like Luis Scola, Pau Gasol, and Carmelo Anthony are also expected to witness the Final Phase live.
Where to watch the games live
Cignal TV, the Fiba World Cup’s official broadcaster in the Philippines, will broadcast the games on free-to-air channels like TV5 and One Sports, but it has also made available pay-per-view, commercial-free access with wider options on games to watch.
Online streaming of the games will also be available on the Smart Live App and Pilipinas Live App.
Fiba has launched the Courtside 1891 digital platform, which will air the 92 World Cup games online on selected territories in the world. The NBA app and NBA.com will also carry the Courtside 1891 games.
To those who want to experience watching with a live crowd for free, SM Malls and Robinsons Malls are also setting up watch parties in selected mall branches across the Philippines.
SM Malls will hold the viewing event for Gilas Pilipinas’ first round group games at the activity centers in the following malls:
San Miguel Corporation, which signed on as a Fiba World Cup partner in April, is also hosting watch parties for all of Gilas Pilipinas’ games in several covered courts in Metro Manila.
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