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Muratore looks forward to jampacked PH Arena for FIBA WC 2023

More than 53,000 people went to the Philippine Arena to watch each of the last two games of the PBA 2017 season. Dennis Acosta (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The recently concluded PBA Governors' Cup Finals may have been the clincher.

The last two games of the epic best-of-seven showdown between Ginebra and Meralco drew back-to-back crowds of at least 53,000 people at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, and that is what FIBA president Horacio Muratore is expecting as the Philippines will co-host the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

"We look forward to witnessing a FIBA Basketball World Cup Final played in a venue packed with more than 50,000 basketball crazy fans in the Philippines, a country where basketball is a religion," Muratore said in a statement on Saturday night, minutes after the joint bid of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan beat the joint bid of Argentina and Uruguay for the right to host the 2023 edition.

[Related Story: PH, Indonesia, Japan to succeed China as FIBA WC co-hosts as #PlayLouderIn2023 bid successful]

It was then revealed that the FIBA Central Board unanimously voted the Asian co-hosting bid over the South American bid.

While the three Asian countries will host a "first-of-a-kind FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023," Muratore said that there is nothing to take away from the South Americans.

"This was a very difficult decision as both candidatures were of exceptional quality. We want to congratulate both bidders for their outstanding work," he continued. "We are very pleased to see national federations team up and put together bids of the highest quality to host our World Cup."

FIBA actually asked the Argentinian-Uruguayan consortium to make a pitch for the hosting of the 2027 edition.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno