Negotiations underway for staging of PBA's season opener at Philippine Arena
The Philippine Arena in Bulacan is being eyed to host the opening of the PBA's 40th season. Jerome Ascano

NEGOTIATIONS are underway to hold the opening of the PBA's 40th season at the new Philippine Arena, reputedly the biggest domed stadium in the world.

PBA media bureau chief and special assistant to the commissioner Willie Marcial told that they have started negotiations with the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo for the use of the Bulacan arena, which can seat as much as 55,000 spectators, for the October 19 opening.

“We are already talking to them. Wala pang napapagsarhan, pero kausap na namin sila,” said Marcial.

The longtime league official said the PBA is negotiating directly with Iglesia officials and not with the third party group, which is set to take over control and operation of the world-class facility.

If a deal is sealed, the league will in all certainty surpass all gate records in its history.

Asked if the PBA can fill up the humongous arena, Marcial sounded optimistic, especially since the league will be coming off a break lengthened by Gilas Pilipinas' stint in the Fiba World Cup and the Asian Games.

“Kaya nating punuin 'yun. Lalo ngayon matagal na walang PBA dahil nagbigay daan tayo sa national team. Kaya naniniwala kami na sabik na sabik sa PBA ang mga fans,” he said.

Aside from the Philippine Arena, possible venues for PBA 's initial offering of its season are the Smart Araneta Coliseum (21,000 seater) and the SM Mall of Asia Arena (19,000 seater).

“Basta wala pang final sa usapan namin ng Philippine Arena, pero hopefully makapaglaro ang PBA dun,” added the amiable league official.

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