THE Philippine Sports Commission is planning to install air-conditioning units at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in a bid to lure top collegiate leagues like the UAAP and the NCAA to hold games at the historic but decaying venue.
PSC commissioner Jolly Gomez said the government sports agency is looking to complete air-conditioning work on the 79-year-old venue before July, in time for the start of the collegiate basketball season.
Gomez said a group has already offered to sponsor the installation of the units.
“We are trying to work on it right now,” said Gomez. “A sponsor has been offered to us, but at the same time, may pondo naman ang PSC.”
The Rizal Coliseum used to play host to some of the biggest basketball games in the country, but decades of neglect - as well as constant floods in the Vito Cruz area in Manila - have left it in a sorry state.
Previous PSC administrations had planned, but failed, to install air-conditioning in the venue.
Nowadays, it is only rented out to corporate leagues and other small tournaments. With an upgrade, Gomez hopes they can convince leagues like the UAAP and NCAA to return to the historic venue.
Gomez said he has met with incoming UAAP secretary/treasurer Malou Isip of Season 76 host Adamson on Monday to offer not just the Rizal Coliseum but also other PSC-maintained venues for use of the league's events.
“We want to encourage the use of our venues because these venues are for the public, instead of commercial venues where the only ones who are benefiting are the owners,” said Gomez.
Gomez said holding games at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex will be beneficial for the UAAP since most of the member schools - except for Ateneo and the University of the Philippines - are close by.
However, the heavy traffic, lack of parking spaces, and security issues in and around the area should be a dampener for the schools.
The PSC official said the NCAA has also indicated that it wants to enter into a “strong partnership” with the government sports arm.
In order to save on costs, Gomez said the agency will put in separate units instead of a centralized air-conditioning system, which has been done in provincial venues.
“In terms of the electricity load, we have been upgrading,” said Gomez.