My 2023 sports wishlist

The year 2022 was a momentous one for sports worldwide as most leagues and sports events went full swing after a halt caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sports events have finally resumed back to their normal calendar and format, and stadiums are opening their doors to full capacity once again. The highlights of the year were most definitely the Golden State Warriors championship and Argentina’s World Cup victory. Given the bar that 2022 has set, I will be sharing what I would want to see in 2023. After all, I was a good boy this past year.

Fiba World Cup

It is now basketball’s time to shine. For the first time in history, the Philippines is set to host the event. Team USA is still the favorite to win the tournament, but expect heroic showings from other heavy contenders in Spain, Slovenia, France, Australia and Serbia. No matter who wins, it will be a unique experience to have a World Cup held on our soil, with the world’s best players all coming together in three of our premier arenas. This is one to savor for Filipinos.

Fifa Women’s World Cup

For the first time in history, a Philippine team has qualified for the prestigious World Cup. It was the Filipinas, our women’s national football team, who made the breakthrough after they defeated Chinese Taipei in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarterfinals. No matter the result, Filipino football fans will forever cherish this milestone run, and we continue to hope that this is a sign of things to come for Philippine football in the near future.

Parity in the PBA

Staying within the basketball spectrum, it would be pleasing to see independent teams in Converge, Rain or Shine, or Phoenix finally win a championship after eight straight years of SMC/MVP supremacy. They all have budding young cores who seem ready to make a statement in the league. It will be tremendously difficult to topple the likes of San Miguel, TNT and Ginebra but if they do click the right buttons, 2023 may finally be the year of the independent team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Baseball’s uprising

Baseball has long been a forgotten sport in the Philippines. This saddens me personally as an avid baseball fan. However, with more youth groups and leagues slowly developing around the country, 2023 might be a formative year for baseball to start over in the country. Cebu alone has a new baseball facility in Opon, Lapu-Lapu City called “Opon Dreamers Batting Cage.” It features a bullpen, radar gun, pitching machine and on-hand coaches. It is gaining fame among young aspirants within the community. To me, the sport fits the skill set of Filipinos since many of our athletes are speedy runners and possess solid power. I hope baseball sees a rise in 2023 similar to what football experienced in 2022.

More underdog champions

No matter what sport one supports, everyone indeed loves an underdog success story. Everyone remembers the recent championship runs of the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Braves and L.A. Rams. While it is fun to have dominant teams go the distance in their respective leagues, having that one under-the-radar team come out of nowhere always adds an extra notch to an already-competitive season. Rooting for underdog teams is a wholesome way to bring fans together.

The stage is set for an interesting and entertaining 2023 in sports, as we slowly but surely head back toward normalcy. Bring it on, 2023!