The culmination of the international basketball competition will commence right on our front porch, with Filipino-American rapper Saweetie headlining the group draw festivities on April 29, 2023, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Fortifying the coveted tournament, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas reports the performance of the Grammy-nominated artist, sharing the stage with Pop Princess Sarah Geronimo and Billy Crawford.
Time to find out which teams Gilas Pilipinas will face in the group stage of the FIBA World Cup 2023! pic.twitter.com/vZxCuY0t1U
— SBP (@officialSBPinc) April 15, 2023
Saweetie embraces her rich Filipino origin, reflected through various tributes related to the local culture. The award-winning artist is no stranger to her roots, docking at several renowned vacation spots in the country in recent years.
Photo caption: Saweetie repping the Philippine Flag at the 2021 Met Gala – Rappler
Carmelo Anthony, Luis Scola, and Pau Gasol are all scheduled to appear alongside the Filipino-American performer as FIBA World Ambassadors. The committee’s decision on the three former Olympic athletes mirrors their extensive competitive resumes and contributions to the sport.
Recognized for donning the Star-Spangled Banner during the ‘04-’16 Olympic Games and the ‘06 FIBA World Championship, Anthony’s All-Star caliber play is equated to his shot-making capability and clutch factor. During his 20-year tenure in the NBA, the 10-time All-Star provided valuable minutes and scoring for six franchises.
Argentinian stalwart Scola holds the record as the tournament’s second-all-time leading scorer, with several stints in the NBA as a member of the Rockets, Suns, Pacers, Raptors, and Nets. The country’s flagbearer at the 2016 Olympic Games provided several gold medals on the regional and international stage.
Gasol’s gracious yet tenacious style of play served as a gleaming threat in the paint for the Spanish national squad. The core pillar of the back-to-back NBA champions trampled through international competition acquiring the 2006 FIBA World Cup title and several pieces of silverware under his belt.
Photo caption: Anthony, Scola, and Gasol representing their respective countries
With the celebration of the quadrennial festival, the selection of the Philippines as one of the three hosts of the tournament speaks highly regarding the nation’s rich basketball culture and love for the game. The FIBA Basketball World Cup features the 32-qualified teams hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from August to September 2023.