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    Renewed hope for Manila visit of Yao's Sharks

    Jan 18, 2013

    CHANCES of reviving the cancelled exhibition game featuring Chinese basketball team Shanghai Sharks of former NBA superstar Yao Ming is very possible.

    A Spin.ph source inside the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) said chairman Ritchie Garcia and Chinese Embassy cultural counsellor Pan Feng met late Friday and the scheduling of the Sharks’ planned exhibition match here in Manila was among those discussed.

    The meeting is part of a standing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the PSC and its Chinese counterpart for a deeper cooperation between the two sports agencies.

    It is not yet clear though, if the entire Shanghai Sharks team will be coming over to the country should the plans push through.

    Incidentally, former Washington Wizards star player Gilbert Arenas is now part of the team, having signed up with the Sharks last November to suit up for the Chinese Basketball Association. Arena was a one-time Manila visitor.

    There is also the possibility of Yao, now retired after an injury-plagued career with the Houston Rockets, coming over to accompany the team.

    Last year, the Sharks were initially scheduled to face a PBA selection team in an exhibition match that was later postponed following the dispute between the Philippines and China surrounding the Scarborough Shoal.

    A visit by the Sharks here could also lead to a game against Gilas Pilipinas since the national team is in the midst of preparing for the 2013 Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship this August.

    Prior to his NBA stint, Yao began his pro career playing for the Sharks whom he powered to a CBA championship. He has since became the team owner after purchasing the franchise in 2009 when it fell into financial trouble.

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