SEA Games basketball to push through in MOA Arena
By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — After a week of speculations regarding a possible venue change, the five-on-five basketball events of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) will take place at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City as originally planned.
“Together with POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) president Ricky Vargas, Phisgoc COO Tats Suzara and the SBP, we were able to find a win-win solution,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president, Al Panlilio, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We heard the voices of our people,” Panlilio said.
Last week, Suzara dropped a shocker when he announced in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas that the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) is looking to bring the basketball games to the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City due to concerns over reserving the MOA Arena for the SEA Games slated from November 30 to December 11.
The development did not sit well with basketball fans due to the fact that the FilOil Flying V Centre, which is home to the San Juan Knights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, as well as the main venue of the volleyball events of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, can only fill up to 5,500 fans, three times less than the MOA Arena’s maximum seating capacity.
The MOA Arena can accommodate a crowd of 20,000.
Panlilio reiterated that the Gilas Pilipinas lineup for the SEA Games will be mainly composed of the pro league’s brightest stars.
“As requested by POC president and PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas to the SBP, which we agreed, we want to bring nothing less but the best PBA talent that we can assemble. We want to win the gold medal in basketball and the SBP is fully committed to make this a reality,” he said. (PNA)