SEA Games 2019: Basketball events back at MOA Arena
MANILA, Philippines – The basketball games in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will be played in a major arena after all.
A week after officials announced that the Filipinos' favorite sport has been moved to a secondary venue, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) confirmed on Wednesday, March 20, that basketball games will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena
"Instead of playing the blame game, we took it upon ourselves to find an answer to the clamor [for a bigger venue for basketball]," said SBP president Al Panlilio in a statement.
"So, together with POC President Ricky, PHISGOC COO Tats (Suzara) and the SBP, we were able to find a win-win solution."
The national basketball federation was forced to look for an alternative venue after PHISGOC chief operations officer Suzara announced last Thursday, March 14, that they weren't able to secure MOA Arena for the biennial games' basketball competition. (SEA Games 2019: SBP, LVPI look for alternative venues)
Suzara initially identified the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan as the new venue for the basketball events. However, this received negative backlash from fans as the San Juan arena can accommodate just a quarter of MOA's maximum capacity.
"We heard the voices of our people. We were also made aware that some sectors have started to put the blame on certain agencies without really understanding the complexities of the situation," added Panlilio.
Panlilio further confirmed that SBP is sticking to sending an all-PBA team that aims to cop the Philippines' 19th SEA Games men's basketball gold. (SEA GAMES 2019: SBP aims to sweep all basketball events)
"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."
In the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games, the Philippine men's basketball team finished on top while Perlas Pilipinas missed a podium finish and settled for 4th place. – Rappler.com