THE Philippine Sports Commission is offering the free use of the Ninoy Aquino Stadium as back-up venue for the Fiba Asia Championship this year.
Due to the number of games to be played, another stadium is expected to be tapped aside from the main venue, the Mall of Asia Arena, and the government-owned arena inside the Rizal Memorial Complex is ideal for the tournament due to its proximity to the MOA Arena and hotels where the teams will be billeted.
Another secondary venue being considered is the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Although the sports agency has not received an official communication from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas about the country’s hosting the event, PSC chairman Richie Garcia said the Ninoy Aquino Stadium has already been given the green light by Fiba-Asia to hold a major international basketball competition.
The inspection of the stadium was done prior to the bidding for the hosting of the Asian championships, which was initially given to Lebanon but later awarded to Manila to due to tension in the West Asia region.
“They looked at Ninoy and (it) passed the standards of Fiba,” Garcia also said. “The last time they told us, hindi tuloy. So wala pang communication (since then).”
If and when the Ninoy Aquino Stadium is chosen, Garcia said the fees for the arena's use will be waived.
“Manpower lang ang babayaran diyan. Wala naman kaming sisingilin sa kanila,” said Garcia.
Garcia said the stadium's facilities are also in good shape after refurbishing work done over the years, Garcia said, although the lack of parking spaces figures to be a problem not just for the Rizal arena but also for the Astrodome in Pasay.
“Ready ang mga venues, wala tayong problema … Pinapaayos ang mga lockers not only for this event but as part of maintenance,” Garcia said.